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COVID-19 information continues to be shared as a new week has arrived.


Ford County administrator J.D. Gilbert released information on what the county is doing at this time as well as taking the opportunity to quiet some rumors that may be going around.


As other counties have implemented shelter-in-place orders or no-travel-orders, according to Gilbert, Ford County citizens have been doing a wonderful job social distancing, staying home, minimizing public interactions and generally making the right decisions to protect the health and safety of our family-community.


"It is important that everyone continue practicing social distancing, staying home and only making public contact for essential services," Gilbert said in a news release. "Please keep in mind that the changes in lifestyle we are recommending are temporary and will not be a 'new way of life' forever.


"All of us have to remain calm, patient and clear when it comes to our response to COVID-19."


As to circulating rumors, Gilbert addressed "panic buying.”


"In our case, 'panic buying is only making it more difficult for local vendors to provide an adequate amount of stock and supplies," Gilbert said. "Local grocers have had to modify business hours due to 'panic buying' and that makes this whole situation even more difficult and scary.


"So, in reality, any shortage of products and availability has been created by panic and not necessity."


Gilbert recommends that citizens shop on a "normal" basis as they did prior to COVID-19. In doing so, he says that would then allow regular business hours to be restored.


Another rumor is that of the National Guard and martial law.


According to Gilbert, the National Guard has not been called in and there are no plans of martial law being instituted.


Another rumor is highway signs on Highway 400.


"The electronic signs you are seeing on the highway are for construction to begin on replacing components of the bridge at U-400," Gilbert said. "There are pictures of 'essential worker' letters being distributed on the internet — at this time, there is no official order for any workers in Ford County to carry such a letter to perform the functions of their job.


"This is something select employers are doing on their own and that is OK."


Additionally, Gilbert released information of situations that are taking place regarding the combatting of COVID-19 in Ford County.


If anyone has traveled into Ford County from a "hot zone," as Gilbert called it, they will be subject to a mandatory quarantine.


Also a mandatory quarantine will take place if you are in close contact with a confirmed positive case.


"There are processes in place to ensure availability of response supplies and COVID-19 testing kits — individuals tested will have to meet certain criteria," Gilbert said. "If, at any time, Ford County identifies evidence of community spread or transmission, we will communicate the next steps and recommendations as soon as possible.


"If, at any time, Ford County needs to shelter in place or restrict travel, we will communicate that directly to the citizens of Ford County as soon as possible."


For any questions regarding COVID-19 in Ford County, call the KDHE hotline 1-866-534-3463 or email Gilbert at jgilbert@fordcounty.net or visit www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/COVID-19_Resource_Center.htm or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.


"If you feel you are in need of COVID-19 testing because of active symptoms or recent travel to areas with confirmed cases, please call your medical provider," Gilbert said. "Medical providers, Western Plains Medical Complex and Ford County Health Department have the ability to test for COVID-19."


Art Guild announced it will be closed until further notice due to COVID-19.


The guild said it will post art for sale on its Facebook page soon and if anyone wants to view art in the gallery, an appointment can be made by calling Jennifer at 620-253-6822 or Jack at 620-255-1447.


"Thank you for understanding, we appreciate your support," the guild said. "As we each take steps to protect each other, we look forward to being open again soon. Stay safe and be well."


Starting Monday, per orders by Gov. Laura Kelly, all Department for Children and Families service centers will be closed to the public, until further notice.


The agency’s core services will continue while the public won’t be able to access buildings.


“Our mission is to protect children and strengthen families,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said in a news release. “Our essential staff will continue the important work of investigating abuse and neglect allegations and processing applications for vital assistance programs.”


Core services continuing during the shutdown include:


The Kansas Protection Report Center will continue taking reports of abuse/neglect; both child and adult protection workers will continue to receive and respond to abuse reports; foster care operations; eligibility workers will continue to process food, cash, LIEAP and child care assistance applications; Disability Determination Services continue and Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will continue operations.


“We are taking prudent measures to make sure our employees are safe during this time,” Howard said. “While it might take us a bit longer to process an application, we do not anticipate any major interruptions or delays in our core services.


"Additionally, we are committed to receiving and responding to reports of abuse/neglect. We may do some of those investigations virtually when possible, but be assured, we’ll work with our law enforcement partners to ensure children and vulnerable adults are safe.”


While DCF child support workers will be on administrative leave, agency contractors will continue work and no interruption in child support operations will take place.


Over the next few weeks, if someone suspects abuse or neglect, call the KPRC at 1-800-922-5330. To report allegations online visit www.dcf.ks.gov/services/PPS/Pages/KIPS/KIPSWebIntake.aspx.


To apply for services such as food, cash or child care assistance, apply online at www.dcf.ks.gov.


Paper applications are available outside each DCF service center and can be left in the outside drop box or mailed to the local service center.


Low-Income Energy Assistance Program applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. March 31.


Each DCF region has an emergency service phone number.


Dodge City is in the West Region, and its emergency number is 785-462-6760 ext. 206.


To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com