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The McPherson County Health Department announced this week “community spread” of COVID-19 in McPherson County, and identified a grocery store as a place where residents may have been exposed to the virus.


Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in McPherson County without a history of travel, McPherson County Health Department believes it is likely that the disease is spread person to person, indicating community spread.


The health department identified a positive case of COVID-19 involving an employee at Dillons, 1320 N Main St, McPherson. According to the department, while the employee was not symptomatic while at work, the individual was at work immediately prior to symptoms. Those who shopped at the store between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. March 31s or 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1 may have been exposed to COVID-19.


“We’ve been informed by an associate at our McPherson store, who has tested positive for COVID-19,” said Sheila Lowrie, Dillon Stores spokeswoman. “We are supporting our associate with an emergency paid leave and share our best for quick recovery. Upon learning of this case, we followed all sanitation and cleaning procedures as recommended by the CDC, communicated with, and supported our store team. We will continue to follow guidance from local, state and federal agencies, including the CDC and other health organizations.”


McPherson County Health Department defines community spread as five or more cases not related to travel.


Symptoms for COVID-19 appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other rarer symptoms that may develop include malaise, sore throat, and diarrhea. If you develop any of these symptoms, but are not ill enough to seek medical care, you must stay home for at least 7 days after symptoms started or for 72 hours after fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and with significant improvement in symptoms, whichever is longer. If you develop these symptoms and need to seek medical care, call your healthcare provider beforehand and inform them that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and require medical attention.


The health department urges anyone who was at the Dillons store during these specific dates and developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 between 2 and 14 days later, to call their primary care doctor. Those who do not have a provider, should call a local hospital or the McPherson County Health Department at 620-241-1753 or email machd@mcphersoncountyks.us.


Dillons announced steps to comply with Center for Disease Control guidelines including sanitation of the store, increased sanitation measures for commonly used areas, providing masks to employees, provident gloves to employees, creating hand-washing rotations for employees, plexicals partitions in checkout lanes and other measures to improve safety for customers and employees.