Smith County Memorial Hospital Responds To Coronavirus

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Updated April 16, 2020 – Smith County has reported a positive case of COVID-19. Information about the case is being handled by the health department. Their team is contacting individuals who may also need to be tested and will work with them directly to provide further instruction.

At this time, it is especially important to be mindful of several things.

The individual who tested positive, as well as any future cases, has a right to privacy. As with any health concern, this is personal and identifying information will be kept private. It is easy to make assumptions, guesses and listen to rumors during these moments. We encourage everyone to ignore these tendencies and instead focus on supporting our communities by taking personal measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Staying at home is more vital than ever. This is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Kelly recently extended the state executive order to May 3. Given the recent arrival of COVID-19 to Smith County, this extension is even more appropriate for our communities.

When we say stay at home, we really mean at home. This is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Please limit shopping and other essential trips to local stores and to only absolutely necessary events. If possible, participate in the curbside or drive up options at many of our local businesses. Even during the necessary trips, please practice social distancing staying at least six feet away from others. Don’t shake hands, hug or touch. Cover coughs and sneezes. Practice good hand hygiene washing your hands or using hand sanitizer before and after shopping.

Unfortunately, this also means limiting extended contact with those you aren’t living with or taking care of. Surrounding ourselves with family and friends seems second nature during uncertain times, however, in this case, it can put our loved ones at risk. Make time for each other through virtual communication using one of the many technologies available to us.

We can expect a certain amount of anxiety and stress caused by uncertainty, isolation and being apart from loved ones during this time. If you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or stress or need someone to talk to, please reach out to a trusted support person such as a pastor, mental health provider or contact your primary care provider for a referral. We don’t want current events to lead to long-term suffering, so please ask for guidance to get relief.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.