Over the weekend confirmed deaths of COVID-19 in Ford County reached seven which were up three from Friday, according to Ford County physician adviser Dr. R.C. Trotter.

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Over the weekend, confirmed deaths of COVID-19 in Ford County reached seven, up three from Friday, according to Ford County physician adviser Dr. R.C. Trotter.

The additional deaths put the current death rate in Ford County at .46% with 1,135 confirmed cases, giving a case rate of 33.76 per 1,000.

The victims range in age from 50 to 84 years old.

According to Trotter, there are five locations in Dodge City testing for the virus at various speeds.

"Currently we are beta testing with a new company of spit testing that should see a faster turnaround for results," Trotter said. "We are still seeing a turnaround of 2-3 days for results and we hope this will speed up the results."

As to the differing reported numbers between Ford County Health Department and Kansas Department of Health Environment, Ford County administrator J.D. Gilbert said, "In our system, some notifications are listed as 'pending' and we cannot determine the status of those notifications at this point.

"KDHE has gone back to including presumptive positive cases in their date like they were in the very beginning. So, we may be receiving 'presumptive' positive or unconfirmed cases and they are coming through as 'pending.' We are trying to get clarification on that from KDHE."

According to Gilbert, the daily information report from Ford County is the information they see in front of them at the time because of not having access to KDHE data.

"They are responsible for entering information into the disease surveillance and tracking system that we are able to see," Gilbert said. "Their numbers will not always match ours because the system is dependent on data entry.

"They have all the lab reports and then filter them to each local health department.

"So, again, our daily number is dependent on the information provided to us directly from KDHE."

Regarding community spread of the virus, Gilbert said, "Community spread isn’t dependent on who is testing positive or whether or not they are associated with an overall cluster. Community spread is defined by positive cases not being linked to a known exposure."

It had been reported by the KDHE that Ford County had two clusters of the virus associated with two private businesses.

On Friday, the KDHE said it would only be releasing a report of COVID-19 in the state on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The report released on Monday show Ford County is not only the No. 1 county in the state with confirmed cases but also No. 1 in the state for testing, with 2,927 tests conducted and 1,795 negative results, giving a testing rate of 87.06 per 1,000 people.

The number of hospitalizations in Ford County is at 19, with 12 ICU admissions, four mechanical ventilations and 12 patients discharged.

"We are still in transition as we slowly open up," Trotter said. “If you have tested positive, stay home and be in contact with your physician, if a family member has tested positive, go in and get tested and stay home.

"For those needing to go out in the community, wear a mask."

For more information on the new reporting, visit www.covid.ks.gov and www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov.

To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.