News Briefs: COVID-19 numbers on the rise, museum report, grad program announcement

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be available at county health departments across the state.

Delta Variant has made an appearance in Pratt and Stafford counties

Pratt County Health Department Director Darcie Van Der Vyver said Monday that COVID-19 positive cases are rising in Pratt County with 18 new cases recorded since July 6. Surrounding counties are also reporting an increase in similar cases.

"Right now we have 8 active cases, there were also 8 on Friday, July 23," Van Der Vyver said. "One of those cases is considered recovered, but another positive case came in, so we are stil at 8."

Van Der Vyver said that 7 of the 8 current positive cases were confirmed to be in individuals who were not vaccinated. One case was in a vaccinated person. Only one of the current positive cases has been confirmed as the new Delta Variant.

"The specimen is ran for additional testing within 2-3 days after the positive result, it takes 20 hours to run the delta variant sequencing. Therefore, people may be out of their 10-day quarantine before the Delta Variant results are received," Van Der Vyver said. 

Pratt County recorded 0 postive cases of COVID-19 for 10 straight weeks in June and July, there have also been no known related deaths for several weeks. However, the state of Kansas is experiencing rapidly rising positive case numbers.

"We do not have a mask mandate at this time," Van Der Vyver said. "But it is still good practice to wash hands, definitely stay home if you are not feeling well, and take the usual good hygiene precautions."

The Stafford County Health Department identified a positive Delta Variant case this past week as well, with 5 total postitive COVID-19 tests recorded as of Friday, July 23, 2021.

Kiowa County reported 4 active cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, July 22.

Vaccinations are continually available in all three counties, with preference for those who call in ahead of time to make an appointment during open hours verses walk-in requests.

"We won't ever turn anyone away," Van Der Vyver said. "But we can save wasted vaccines if we can make appointments for Thursdays and open a batch at that time."

Big Well Museum keeps fielding visitors

Greensburg Tourism and Big Well Museum Director Heather Coyne reported a total of 431 visitors this past week They came to Greensburg from 28 states, Kenya and China, bringing the year-to-date total to 6173.

Graduate program enrollment remains open at Northwestern

Master’s degree programs open to enroll in include: Master of Arts in American Studies, Master of Counseling Psychology, Master of Science in General Psychology, Master of Arts in Heritage Tourism and Conservation and Master of Education with several different options. Applications for admission into the graduate program will be accepted through the beginning of August. Fall classes will begin Monday, Aug. 16.

“This fall semester is an excellent time for potential students to begin their graduate education,” Dr. Shawn Holliday, associate dean of graduate studies, said. “Northwestern offers a wide array of graduate programs that would be of special interest to nontraditional students that can help with retraining for a new or different career. Our small class sizes and supportive faculty also help students succeed. Don’t delay, enroll today!”

To see degree program breakdowns visit the online graduate catalog at

To get started on a graduate degree program contact Melissa Brown, coordinator of graduate studies, at (580) 327-8410 or An application for admission form, admission requirements and additional information may be found at