The Ellis County Health Department reported 18 new COVID-19 cases Monday.


The county has 193 active COVID-19 cases as of Monday’s updated numbers, up from 168 on Friday. There are six active hospitalizations, down from eight.


There have been 885 total cases in the county since COVID-19 reporting began, with 689 recoveries and three deaths.


In Ellis County, 7,580 tests have been administered with 861 positive tests for an 11.3% of positives, and a seven-day-average percent of positives of 29.4%.


In a press release Monday afternoon from the health department, health services director Jason Kennedy said "ECHD has been working diligently with KDHE over the past 2 weeks to rectify our case totals. KDHE has confirmed that we are being notified of all PCR-confirmed positive cases during this time period. The large jump in cases that is reported today are both new cases and cases going back several weeks."


The press release said that starting Monday the health department will be reporting the 7-day average cases per day.


"This is due in large part to the variability of test return times. Most test results return in 48 hours; however several other testing platforms are returning results in 3-10 days," the release said. "This makes it difficult to report new cases per day as many tests will be credited to a day that is outside the reporting time period. By reporting 7 day averages the data will be more consistent with showing trends of case growth or decline."


Ellis County is currently experiencing another increase in both percent of positives and cases per day, said the release.


"This is not the direction we want to be heading into flu season. We must make better choices and continue to follow best practices as we work through this public health emergency," the release said.


Ellis County is monitoring three significant clusters of cases: two in long term care facilities and an ongoing cluster among students at Fort Hays State University.


"We have seen improvements in the FHSU student population, but we must all take every precaution possible to limit the amount of spread," said the release.


Many of the current active cases have mild to no symptoms, said the release, "which can make it difficult to control the spread of the virus through contact tracing and isolation while some will have severe symptoms that can lead to death."