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Virus closes senior center; total hits 56

Staff writer

See BREAKING NEWS for updated information

As the county’s COVID-19 total swelled again this week, with six new cases pushing the total to 56, a case at one of the more vulnerable locations in the county has shut down some senior meals.

Hillsboro’s senior center is closed until Aug. 17 because an employee tested positive and was hospitalized for COVID-19.

Donna Dalke, president of the senior center board, said the employee tested positive Friday and was hospitalized with the virus. The employee is now home from the hospital, Dalke said.

Two other senior center employees were tested after the employee was hospitalized.

“We had different people tested,” Dalke said. “One tested negative, and the other one I haven’t heard.”

The senior center didn’t serve meals Monday or Tuesday but will serve today for pickup and delivery only, Dalke said.

The six new cases reported this week include a man and a woman both in their 30s reported Tuesday; a woman in her 50s reported Monday; a woman in her 30s reported Sunday; a woman in her 20s reported Friday, and a man in his 50s reported last Wednesday.

Dalke said the senior center was following instructions from the county health department, which did not publicly report the infection at the center.

A relative of the senior center employee is a teacher at Kids Connection day care in Hillsboro.

Tiffany Miller, Kids Connection director, confirmed the teacher’s relationship.

“They do not reside together, so it is not a direct contact,” Miller said. “We are taking the proper precautions given to us by the county.”

Miller would not say what those precautions were.

No one could be reached Tuesday night to say whether Marion or Peabody senior centers would still serve meals in person or had to temporarily close.

Visitors to the senior centers were asked to wear masks until they sit at tables for meals according to Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator for the county department on aging.

County meal sites are operated by North Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging.

“When I last talked to them, they had a plan on what if the employees became sick and what they would do for the meals,” she said.

Although the county was deemed a COVID-19 hot spot a week ago, the county may avoid the “red zone” list this coming week. The county’s infection rate per 1,000 residents now stands at 4.7, up 0.5 from a week ago. “Red zone” status is accorded when the rate increases by a full 1.0 in a week. However, neighboring Chase County had a huge increase in cases over the weekend and is one of the hottest hot zones in the state.

Last modified Aug. 5, 2020

 

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