A sixth person has died of COVID-19 in the Geary County community.

Thursday, Geary County Emergency Management announced that a 60-yea-old male who had been hospitalized at Geary Community Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit had died of the virus.

Emergency management will not be releasing any further information about this individual or his death.

In a press release sent out Thursday afternoon, Geary County Emergency Management Director Garry Berges offered condolences to the victim’s loved ones.

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of the individual and our condolences go out to the family and friends,” he wrote.

At this time, there are multiple patients with COVID-19 being treated for the virus at GCH, three of whom are in the ICU according to emergency management.

Emergency management encourages people to continue taking precautions when out in public and to limit their contact with people who they don’t live with, despite the approach of the Christmas holidays.

“As the COVID numbers continue to dramatically increase across Kansas, Geary County authorities strongly encourage everyone to wear masks when in public, do social distancing and conduct frequent hand washing,” Berges wrote. “With the holiday season fast approaching, please limit your contact with anyone outside your immediate family whom you reside with.”

At this time, there are 226 active cases of the virus in the Geary County community, according to the Geary County Health Department.

As of Thursday afternoon, 22 new cases of the virus had been identified within the county and 20 new people were listed as recovered from their illness, causing the active case count to increase by two. No update was posted by the health department on Friday.

There are currently 11 community members in the hospital with the virus.

GCH releases the COVID-19 statistics from the hospital’s testing site every weekday. According to GCH, 6,159 COVID-19 tests have been conducted at the hospital’s testing site since the start of the pandemic, 5,441 of which have been negative and 698 of which have come back positive for the virus. There are 20 tests pending results at last count.

GCH has nine people with the virus hospitalized in its facility.

The Kansas Department of Health and the Environment tracks cases of COVID-19 across Kansas on its website using a map located at www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/160/COVID-19-in-Kansas on the KDHE’s website. The KDHE’s website lists Geary County’s total case count as 1,365 since the start of the pandemic, an increase of 64 since the KDHE last updated its map.

At last count, the health department listed the total COVID-19 case count as 911 for the county.

This discrepancy in the numbers is because the health department’s reach does not extend over certain parts of Geary County while the KDHE’s authority does. The difference accounts for cases in parts of Geary County that the health department does not cover, meaning there are likely about 454 cases of COVID-19 in a part of the county which the health department has no authority to investigate.

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