Mobile testing is next on the agenda for the Franklin County Health Department with assistance from Ottawa Family Practice lab.


Nick Robbins, interim health department director, told county commissioners Wednesday mobile testing is close to reality.


"We are still working on getting group testing where we can do a drive-thru throughout the community," Robbins said. "Things change daily. We think we are getting close to be able to do some kind of randomized testing and then something changes. It is all at the state level. As soon as we get the OK to do it, with the drive-thru testing we have been conducting and having the use of the trailer, we will be able to mobilize that anywhere we want it to go."


The health department borrowed the Franklin County Emergency Management trailer again this week to conduct testing. Robbins said the trailer helps with the organization of the testing process. He said they have tested up to nearly 70 individuals in one day.


"We can (test) quite a few people through the drive-thru testing, once we get that ability," Robbins said. "The last couple of weeks we have increased testing. Testing has become more available."


There have been close to 700 tests with 32 positives and several pending tests as of Friday morning, county officials reported.


Contact tracing has led to more people being tested, Robbins said.


"We have been pretty busy in trace contacting," he said. "We get a list from the positive individual and trace all those contacts. We test them. If any of them come back positive, we call the group of their contacts."


Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday of a new phase to the "Ad Astra: Plan to Reopen Kansas." The new Phase 1.5, effective Monday, continues reopening efforts while preserving some data-driven restrictions necessary to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.


"The good news is that hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths continue to decline, enabling us to move forward with our efforts to safely reopen Kansas," Kelly said. "Unfortunately, the daily rate of disease spread has not shown the downward trajectory necessary to move fully into Phase 2. I said from the beginning that public safety must remain the top priority, which means that our reopening efforts must be driven by data, not dates. Phase 1.5 will continue our transition, but with necessary caution."


Phase 1.5 reopens service businesses, such as hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and gyms. It limits gathering to 10 people or less. The order also prohibits opening of community buildings, organized sports facilities, sports tournaments, sports games, sports practices, public swimming pools, theaters, museums and other indoor leisure spaces.


Franklin County government officials emphasized they do not plan to add more restrictions on top of the state’s plan.