Category Archives: COVID-19

Reopen Kansas Framework Changes to Recommendations Tomorrow

As Governor Kelly’s Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas framework changes to a recommended guidance document tomorrow, the Local Health Officer of Allen, Anderson, Bourbon and Woodson Counties continues to recommend residents and businesses of these counties follow this guidance document through its entirety. The guidelines that were issued by SEK Multi-County Health Departments will be taken down tomorrow, as it took us through the first phase and now there are less restrictive guidelines in place, as well as other guidance now issued by multiple state boards, KDHE, CDC, etc.

The Local Health Officer urges the public to continue to take appropriate actions, by taking responsibility for themselves and their loved ones. Individuals should continue to practice social distancing, clean/disinfect any high touched surfaces, wash their hands with soap and water routinely, use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available and avoid touching your face (especially eyes, nose & mouth).

Please remember if you have the symptoms to:

Call before going to a Clinic, Hospital, ER, or Health Department

Close contact means: 6 foot or less for 10 minutes or more, with a positive case.

If you are experiencing life threatening symptoms, PLEASE CALL 911.

For more information you may call the SEK Multi-County Health Department: Allen: (620)365-2191 Monday-Thursday 7:00am-5:30pm; Anderson: (785)448-6559 Monday-Thursday 7:00am-5:30pm ; Bourbon: (620)223-4464 Monday-Thursday 7:00am-5:30pm; Woodson (620)625-2484 Monday-Thursday 8:00am-5:00pm OR the COVID-19 Hotline: (866)534-3463.You may also visit the

COVID-19 Resource Center at: Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Departments on Facebook for local updates.

Governor signs disaster declaration, calls for special session, warns of grave consequences to state without legislative action


Encourages Legislature to do what’s right to protect Kansans


TOPEKA – Today Governor Laura Kelly announced a series of actions her administration is taking to respond to the emergency situation COVID-19 currently presents to the economy and to public safety.


  1. After careful review, Kelly has vetoed House Bill 2054. This sweeping, hastily crafted legislation pushed through the Kansas Legislature last week includes provisions that will damage Kansas’ ability to respond to COVID-19 and all future disasters. The bill also weakens local county health officer authorities and adds unnecessary layers of bureaucracy to their emergency response efforts.
  2. Kelly has signed a new state disaster declaration to ensure that Kansas can effectively respond to the current emergency situation, which includes an unprecedented economic emergency and the imminent threat of new outbreaks of COVID-19, specifically regarding food supply. This will also ensure the state can continue its coordinated response with federal and state partners.
  3. Kelly has called a special session starting June 3. She has asked the Legislature to put politics aside, work with her, and deliver an emergency management bill that has been vetted, debated, is transparent and addresses the need to keep Kansans safe and healthy.


“As I’ve said from day one, the safety and well-being of Kansans is my number one priority. What the Legislature sent to my desk does not protect Kansans. It does not help Kansans. It puts their lives at risk,” Kelly said. “I’m calling on the Legislature to come back and put a carefully crafted, bipartisan bill on my desk that will provide the resources Kansans need, in a timely manner. We must stop putting Kansans at risk.”


The new state disaster declaration addressing the current emergency enables Kansas to provide the following services through the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas National Guard and the federal government:


  • Allows National Guard members supporting numerous field missions throughout the state to serve communities in response to the disaster and threat. To date, a total of 678 National Guard personnel are supporting these missions.


  • Allows KDEM and National Guard to provide vital food support to communities and protect against threat of food supply shortages. Guard members have packed more than two million meals which are being distributed to food banks across Kansas.


  • Allows KDEM and National Guard to swiftly provide medical and non-medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals, first responders and many more to combat the imminent threat of COVID-19 surges. To date, over 7,000 cases of PPE have been delivered across the state, which includes 3.2 million individual pieces of PPE. More will be needed to address the imminent threat of new outbreaks.


  • Allows KDEM to assist the Kansas Department of Corrections to provide support personnel – including medical and food preparation personnel.


  • Allows KDEM to make deliveries of Remdesivir to counties across Kansas. So far, KDEM, along with their state agency partners which include the Kansas National Guard, Kansas Highway Patrol and Civil Air Patrol, have made 26 deliveries of Remdesivir to 10 counties. Remdesivir is delivered to hospitals to treat critical patients, and this service is potentially life-saving for those patients.  KDEM makes these deliveries immediately when needed for patients throughout the state.


  • Allows KDEM to continue providing non-congregate shelter for positive and exposed persons who are essential workers. There are currently 50 contracts related to non-congregate sheltering needed for the present disaster. Continuing to provide this support will mitigate the threat to the food supply and the threat of surges in COVID-19 infections.


  • Allows medical workers and first responders to rely on the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to decontaminate their PPE. This system is provided by FEMA and continuing to provide this service will mitigate the threat of surges in COVID-19 infections.


  • Allows KDEM to manage donations and warehouse space necessary to store PPE. This storage is necessary due to the threat of new COVID-19 outbreaks as statewide restrictions are lifted and the economy reopens.


  • Allows KDHE to provide community-based testing under the State Emergency Response Plan. Increased testing will help the state mitigate the threat of, or respond to, future outbreaks and allows businesses, employees, and customers to resume economic activity with increased confident that outbreaks will be prevented or mitigated.


  • Allows KDEM to continue transporting testing samples. KDEM has transported over 1,000 samples to state labs since April 29, 2020. By transporting the tests via KDEM couriers, the tests arrive at the lab the same date they are collected, and results are provided the following day. Without this same-day service, the results of the tests will be delayed and the ability to contact-trace will be severely limited, risking additional illness and death as well as economic insecurity.


  • Allows KDEM to provide translation support. Currently, KDEM is providing 16 translators to support contact-tracing operations to mitigate the current and imminent threat of a new COVID-19 outbreak.


  • Allows the Civil Air Patrol to continue to provide needed emergency transportation.


If the state disaster declaration is not extended by the Legislature within 15 days, the following significant problems will likely occur:


  • Possible closure of meat processing plants;
  • Inability to assist hog farmers with the euthanasia and disposal of excess hogs;
  • The loss of unemployment benefits;
  • Significant delay and possible frustration entirely of the economic recovery of the State;
  • Reduced PPE inventory for healthcare workers and first responders;
  • KDEM would be unable to receive, sort, package, and transport PPE and other commodities to health care workers and first responders;
  • Food shortage and an inability of state agencies to provide the various food programs needed to assist Kansans;
  • Reduced testing and a lack of timely test results;
  • Inability to conduct contact-tracing missions;
  • Increased outbreaks of COVID-19 in the prison population;
  • Increased outbreaks of COVID-19 in nursing homes;
  • Inability to service or transport ventilators or anesthesia machines;
  • Inability to coordinate mission assignments or take emergency actions necessary to deal with issues related to the current disaster;
  • No immunity for state employees or volunteers providing vital services;
  • Inability to initiate and maintain the Kansas Response Plan; and
  • Increased costs to the State of Kansas as a result of losing federal funding.


Under the new disaster declaration, the operative provisions of the following Executive Orders will be reissued:


  • 20-08: Temporarily expanding telemedicine and addressing certain licensing requirements to combat the effects of COVID-19
  • 20-12: Driver’s license and vehicle registration and regulation during public health emergency
  • 20-13: Allowing certain deferred tax deadlines and payments during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 20-17: Temporary relief from certain unemployment insurance requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 20-19: Extending professional and occupational licenses during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 20-20: Temporarily allowing notaries and witnesses to act via audio-video communication technology
  • 20-23: Licensure, Certification, and Registration for persons and Licensure of “Adult Care Homes” during public health emergency
  • 20-27: Temporarily suspending certain rules relating to sale of alcoholic beverages
  • 20-32: Temporary relief from certain restrictions concerning shared work programs
  • 20-33: Extending conditional and temporary relief from certain motor carrier rules and regulations in response to COVID-19


Antibody Testing For COVID 19 Available Through CHC/SEK

Sliding fee discounts and financial assistance is available to eligible patients, as stated on the front door of the CHC/SEK Clinic in Fort Scott.


Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas now offers COVID-19 antibody testing through QUEST Laboratories, according to Robert Poole, Communication and Marketing Director, in a press release.


Antibody testing is useful for research and specific virus investigations or epidemiologic studies. CHC/SEK shares testing results with its state and federal partners, according to the press release.


Put simply, the body makes antibodies to fend off germs and other harmful substances. And this process is part of the body’s immune response, according to


The antibody test requires a physician’s order and looks for antibodies in persons who may have had, and have recovered from COVID-19, according to the press release.


Individuals wanting this antibody testing should discuss their concerns and what their results might mean with their doctor.


Laboratory orders can be accepted from physicians outside of the organization for this test, for example, a college student might have a primary care physician in another city.


COVID-19 antibody tests require a blood draw.


Testing is available at either the CHC/SEK Walk in-In Care, 1624 S. National, or the medical clinic at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd.



A positive result does not guarantee immunity from the virus.  Whether you test positive or negative, you should still take preventative measures to protect yourself and others from the virus.



The cost of the COVID-19 antibody testing is being covered by the federal government, however, patients may incur an office visit fee depending on their insurance and income status.



Other points from the press release:


  • The science of COVID-19 testing is evolving, and test accuracy is not perfect. However, testing for antibodies can help identify people who have likely been exposed to the COVID-19 and have mounted an immune response to the virus.


  • The timing of the test is important. It typically takes 1 to 3 weeks after someone becomes infected with COVID-19 for their body to make antibodies; some people may take longer to develop antibodies.


  • It is unknown if people with antibodies have immunity and are protected from becoming sick with COVID-19 again. It is also not known how long those antibodies will last.


  • Antibody tests are not used to diagnose someone as being currently sick with COVID-19. To see if you have a current infection, you need a viral test that checks respiratory samples, such as a swab from inside your nose.


  • Whether you test positive or negative for COVID-19, you should still take preventative measures to protect yourself and others from the virus.

The CHC/SEK locations in Fort Scott

Walk-in Care, 1624 S. National Ave.:

Monday-Sunday: 7:00 am-7:00 pm
Phone Number: (620)223-8428
Fax Number: (620)223-5011


Fort Scott Medical Clinic, 403 Woodland Hills Blvd.:

Monday-Thursday: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Phone Number: (620)223-8040
Fax Number: (620)223-8002

Pharmacy at the medical clinic:

Monday-Friday: 8:00 am-6:30 pm
Saturday: 8:30 am-12:30 pm







SEK COVID 19 Update

SEK Multi-County Health Departments

Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, and Woodson Counties

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

May 26, 2020

Allen County

Current Positive Cases 1
Current Recovered Cases 0
Total Positives Since Testing 1
Deaths 0

Anderson County

Current Positive Cases 0
Current Recovered Cases 1
Total Positives Since Testing 1
Deaths 0

Bourbon County

Current Positive Cases 1
Current Recovered Cases 5
Total Positives Since Testing 7
Deaths 1

Woodson County

Current Positive Cases 0
Current Recovered Cases 6
Total Positives Since Testing 6
Deaths 0

Recovered cases are based on dates of onset of symptoms, not on day testing results are received.

Quarantine If You Traveled to Lake of the Ozarks

KDHE recommends self-quarantine for Kansans who traveled to Lake of the Ozarks


TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is recommending voluntary 14-day self-quarantine for those Kansans who traveled to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, over the Memorial Day weekend and did not use protective measures, such as social distancing and face masks. 


Over the holiday weekend, large crowds were reported at the Lake of the Ozarks with no protective practices being followed.


“The reckless behavior displayed during this weekend risks setting our community back substantially for the progress we’ve already made in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, said. “If you traveled to Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend, we urge you to act responsibly and self-quarantine to protect your neighbors, co-workers and family.”


While Lake of the Ozarks is not currently on the mandated travel list, KDHE urges those who traveled over the Memorial Day weekend to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to Kansas.


A list of states on the mandated travel advisory is available at

Farmers/Ranchers: USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Farmers and Ranchers in Kansas Can Now Apply for Financial Assistance through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Online Tools and Toll-Free Number Available to Assist Producers

Manhattan, KS, May 26, 2020 – Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The application and a payment calculator are now available online, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) staff members are available via phone, fax and online tools to help producers complete applications. The agency set up a call center in order to simplify how they serve new customers across the nation.

We know Kansas producers are facing a tough time now, and we are making every effort to provide much needed support as quickly as possible,” said David Schemm, State Executive Director for FSA in Kansas. “FSA is available over the phone and virtually to walk you through the application process, whether it’s the first time you’ve worked with FSA, or if you know us quite well.”

Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. Through CFAP, USDA is making available $16 billion for vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.

We also want to remind producers that the program is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply,” SED Schemm said.

In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.

Producers can download the CFAP application and other eligibility forms from Also, on that webpage, producers can find a payment calculator to help identify sales and inventory records needed to apply and calculate potential payments.

Additionally, producers in search of one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. This is a good first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

Applying for Assistance

Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office. Those who use the online calculator tool will be able to print off a pre-filled CFAP application, sign, and submit to your local FSA office either electronically or via hand delivery. Please contact your local office to determine the preferred method. Find contact information for your local office at

Documentation to support the producer’s application and certification may be requested after the application is filed. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed.

Additional Commodities

USDA is also establishing a process for the public to identify additional commodities for potential inclusion in CFAP. Specifically, USDA is looking for data on agricultural commodities, that are not currently eligible for CFAP, that the public believes to have either:

  1. suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
  2. shipped but subsequently spoiled due to loss of marketing channel, or
  3. not left the farm or remained unharvested as mature crops.

More information about this process is available on

More Information

To find the latest information on CFAP, visit or call 877-508-8364.

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at



USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Bourbon County Commission Meeting Today Changed to Commission Room, Broadcasted on Facebook


Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Date: May 26, 2020

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jeff Fischer Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Nick Ruhl Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason



9:00 – 9:45 Jim Harris

9:45 Discuss Re-opening of the Courthouse

FSA Expands Set-Aside Loan Provision for Customers Impacted by COVID-19


Set-Aside Delays Loan Payments for Borrowers

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2020– USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will broaden the use of the Disaster Set-Aside (DSA) loan provision, normally used in the wake of natural disasters, to allow farmers with USDA farm loans who are affected by COVID-19, and are determined eligible, to have their next payment set aside. In some cases, FSA may also set aside a second payment for farmers who have already had one payment set aside because of a prior designated disaster.

This immediate change of the Set-Aside provision can provide some welcome financial relief to borrowers during this current crisis,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “FSA recognizes that some customers may need this option to improve their cash flow circumstances in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

FSA direct loan borrowers will receive a letter with the details of the expanded Disaster Set-Aside authorities, which includes the possible set-aside of annual operating loans, as well as explanations of the additional loan servicing options that are available. To discuss or request a loan payment Set-Aside, borrowers should call or email the farm loan staff at their local FSA county office.

The set-aside payment’s due date is moved to the final maturity date of the loan or extended up to twelve months in the case of an annual operating loan. Any principal set-aside will continue to accrue interest until it is repaid. This aims to improve the borrower’s cashflow in the current production cycle.

FSA previously announced it was relaxing the loan-making process and adding flexibilities for servicing direct and guaranteed loans to provide credit to producers in need. Direct loan applicants and borrowers are encouraged to contact their local FSA county office to discuss loan making and servicing flexibilities and other needs or concerns. Customers participating in FSA’s guaranteed loan programs are encouraged to contact their lender. Information on these flexibilities, and office contact information, can be found on

FSA will be accepting most forms and applications by facsimile or electronic signature. Some services are also available online to customers with an eAuth account, which provides access to the portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and certain program applications and payments. Customers can track payments, report completed practices, request conservation assistance and electronically sign documents. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with the FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at


Holiday With Safety in Mind

Governor Kelly encourages Kansans to have a safe Memorial Day Weekend


With Memorial Day approaching, Governor Laura Kelly reminds Kansans to enjoy the holiday weekend with safety in mind.


COVID-19-related guidance and requirements related to gatherings are outlined in the Governor’s reopening plan, and reflect her decision to move Kansas into a modified version of Phase 2 of the plan, starting Friday. The plan and additional safety guidance can be found at


“The Memorial Day weekend is one of the first holidays of the year when people want to get outside and enjoy the weather, and spend time with their families and friends,” Kelly said. “But no one should use this as an excuse to ignore health and safety guidelines.”


The following is allowed on Memorial Day, according to “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas”:


  • Have a gathering in your home with 15 or fewer individuals, not including those you live with.
  • Use your backyard pool for any parties, so long as mass gathering restrictions are met.
  • Have a drive-through parade, so long as no more than 15 individuals are outside the car and they are able to maintain social distancing.
  • Go to a restaurant with your friends and family, so long as that business meets the necessary health and safety requirements.
  • Engage in outdoor activities at parks or other public spaces, so long as social distancing and mass gathering requirements are met.


Here’s what you can’t do on Memorial Day according to the “Ad Astra” plan:


  • Hold or attend an in-person fair, festival or parade.
  • Use community, public and other non-backyard pools for parties or gatherings.
  • Go to bars or nightclubs.
  • Have ceremonies or gatherings that violate the mass gathering limit of 15 or more individuals when a 6-foot distance cannot be met, except for infrequent or incidental moments of contact.


Additional health tips include:


  • Stay home if sick
  • Practice social distancing whenever possible
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover cough and sneezes into an elbow or tissue
  • Wear masks (especially in places where social distancing is difficult to maintain)
  • Stay home if you or a loved one is considered high risk.


For those having parties or gatherings this weekend:


  • Have cleaning supplies readily available
  • Avoid using buffets and other self-service food stations
  • Have individuals with gloves and masks serve food
  • Avoid punchbowls or other communal drink stations
  • Use disposable plate and utensils if unable to constantly clean dishes
  • Plan outdoor activities rather than indoor ones
  • Practice social distancing and maintain ventilation through your home by opening doors or windows if engaging in indoor activities.


For more information on health and safety guidance, or to see Governor Kelly’s reopening plan, visit the Kansas COVID-19 Response and Recovery website.

Christian Ministries Team Up to Distribute Food Tomorrow, May 23

Allen Schellack, director of Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries.

Three Christian ministries are working together to bring food to those affected by the COVID 19 Pandemic.


Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries, Fort Scott Church of the  Nazarene, and Convoy of Hope will be having a food distribution event, Saturday, May 23, from 10 AM to 2 PM at Fort Scott Nazarene, 1728 S Horton.


Convoy of Hope is providing the food, the church is providing the distribution place and some volunteers and Allen Schellack, director of Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries, is providing the coordination of the food distribution.


The Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene is located at 1728 S. Horton. People should enter off of Horton Street and will pick up food under the canopy on the south side of the church.


Food distributed (while supplies last) will include potatoes, bread, eggs, produce, and bottled juice and tea, according to Allen Schellack, director.

Schellack recently completed a Convoy of Hope Zoom training and  on May 20 he was told that food to distribute would be available on May 23.,

Schellack with his son, Dustin, will be picking up the food from the Convoy of Hope hub site in Webb City, MO.

Volunteers are needed on May 23 to help direct traffic for the event, unpack the food, and hand out the food, Schellack said.

Volunteers can call Schellack to schedule a work time at 620-223-2212.

There are no income guidelines to receive the food, nor registration requirements.

“We hope to make this the first of many more events,” Schellack said.

“This is a community event and our vision is to have more churches involved to help serve the community,” he said.


Convoy of Hope is a faith-based organization with a driving passion to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches, disaster response and partner resourcing, according to its’ Facebook page.

Schellack is a member of the Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene and members are supporting this outreach as volunteers and allowing the church to be the distribution point.

The mission of Fort Scott Compassionate Ministries is to
 alleviate suffering caused by poverty, and issues relating to poverty, and promote family values through partnership with local and state agencies.
The FSCM Outreach Center is located on the second floor of The Bourbon County Senior Citizens Center, 26 N. Main and was founded in 2014, with Schellack at the director.