Osawatomie State Hospital

OSAWATOMIE — Additional positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have now been reported at Osawatomie State Hospital (OSH), and local health officials contacted the National Guard to help conduct tests of all patients and staff members at the mental health facility.

Christena Beer, disease investigator with the county health department, said drive-thru testing for all staff members began Monday, June 29, and continued Tuesday, June 30.

Beer said the National Guard was asked to assist because additional manpower was needed to test about 700 people affiliated with OSH in a short amount of time.

The Miami County Health Department was first notified Friday, June 19, that an employee of OSH tested positive for COVID-19.

“Immediately following the notification, a case and contact investigation was initiated and completed, and many close contacts were instructed to undergo a 14-day quarantine, as directed by Miami County Health Department staff,” according to a health department news release issued Monday, June 29. “Days later, Miami County Health Department was notified of additional cases, and case and contact investigations are currently being conducted, in conjunction with a neighboring local health department as well as the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.”

Out of precaution, and to identify any asymptomatic individuals carrying COVID-19, the health department employed the assistance of the Kansas National Guard to conduct testing for all staff and residents of Osawatomie State Hospital, according to the release.

“Once all test results are back, Miami County Health Department will provide an update on laboratory-confirmed cases identified in any staff or residents as a result of this testing,” the release states.

The health department also urged all Miami County residents to continue to take proper precautions to slow the spread of the virus.

“It is extremely important that we all continue to practice social distancing, practice good hygiene and respiratory etiquette, wear barrier masks when distancing recommendations aren’t possible to maintain, and to make good decisions that not only protect our most vulnerable populations, but our entire community,” the release states.

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