Miami County Health Department

Miami County Health Department

Miami County has 105 active COVID-19 cases and three active clusters.

Mark Whelan, emergency management coordinator at the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, provided the County Commission with an update Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Whelan said he was speaking on behalf of the Miami County Health Department because the department’s staff was busy handling an increased caseload. Miami County has seen a 30 percent increase in cases this month, between Nov. 3 and Monday, Nov. 16, Whelan said.

The county had a total of 793 cases as of Wednesday, Nov. 18, which is up 190 cases from 603 cases on Nov. 2, he said.

Whelan also provided the County Commission with an update on each cluster.

One active cluster is located at the Osawatomie State Hospital (OSH), with six confirmed cases at present. Whelan said facility-wide testing for staff and patients is taking place. The county requested assistance on Tuesday, Nov. 17, from the Kansas Army National Guard to conduct the expanded testing of about 700 people at OSH.

A cluster associated with a recent Louisburg gathering has five confirmed cases and four probable cases, with pending test results, Whelan reported.

The other active cluster is associated with a gathering in Osawatomie that has produced five-plus cases, spanning at least two counties, Whelan said.

The three clusters remain under investigation by the health department. Health officials have not released information about the nature of the Louisburg and Osawatomie gatherings, nor their specific locations.

Whelan reported there have been three new hospitalizations within the past week, with two associated with the cluster at the state hospital.

The Emergency Management coordinator also provided an update on the status of quarantines in the county.

He said approximately 19 quarantines are associated with the Louisburg gathering; 26 quarantines are associated with exposure in a physical education class at Louisburg High School, and 20 quarantines are associated with basketball tryouts at Paola High School.

Of the county’s nearly 800 total cases categorized by postal address, 142 have been generated in Paola, and an additional 163 cases have occurred in rural Paola. Louisburg has recorded 123 cases in the city, with an additional 75 cases in rural Louisburg. Osawatomie has seen 84 cases in the city and another 37 cases in rural Osawatomie. Spring Hill has recorded 45 cases on the Miami County side of the community, along with 37 rural Miami County cases with Spring Hill addresses.

The county has recorded 27 cases with Bucyrus addresses. Fontana has recorded one case inside the city limits and four in rural Fontana. The remaining few cases are scattered in other parts of the county.

The report came on the heels of several Miami County residents who spoke during the public comment portion of the County Commission meeting on both sides of the mask debate.

Three of the speakers were elected officials. Osawatomie Mayor Mark Govea and Osawatomie City Manager Mike Scanlon spoke in favor of a countywide mask mandate. State Rep.-elect Samantha Poetter of Paola told commissioners she was opposed to a county mask mandate.

The mask issue was not on the agenda of the County Commission meeting Wednesday.

For coverage of the mask conversation, see The Republic’s Nov. 25 issue.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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