Good Health

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment on Tuesday, March 17, announced the identification of two more coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, raising the total to 10 presumptive positive cases in Johnson County. Cases also were recorded Tuesday in Wyandotte and Douglas counties, bringing the state total to 16. 

Another case close to Miami County surfaced on Monday, March 16, when the Cass County Health Department announced the county's first presumptive positive case is located in Drexel, Mo., southeast of Louisburg.

The number of Kansas cases has been growing daily, with Franklin County joining the list on Saturday, March 14, when a Franklin County man tested presumptive positive. Cases have been reported in Johnson, Franklin, Wyandotte and Butler counties as of Tuesday morning.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) said Saturday in a  news release that a woman in her 50s who is associated with Johnson County Community College has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. It's the fifth case in Johnson County and the first known case in the county of a local transmission.

The Franklin County case is prompting a two-week closure of all Franklin County schools.

Due to the current and fast spread of coronanvirus and the number of staff and students on spring break that are returning from domestic and international trips where COVID-19 has been detected, Dr. Willard Ransom, Franklin County Health Officer, has ordered all Franklin County schools to suspend classes and extracurricular activities for two weeks, starting Monday, March 16, as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, according to a Franklin County news release.

Schools can remain open during the suspension, and staff can report to school as needed, according to the release.

More details about the Franklin County man were unavailable.

The Franklin County Board of County Commissioners, under the recommendation of the emergency manager, has declared a State of Local Disaster after the presumptive positive case was reported. Officials said all precautions have been taken, and anyone who is believed to have come into close contact with the individual has been quarantined.

Travelers coming back from international trips to Level 2 and 3 countries (China, Iran, South Korea and all of Europe including the United Kingdom) are required to contact the Franklin County Health Department upon their return, according to the release. Travelers returning from trips to all other locations, domestic and international, are asked to closely monitor for the following symptoms: fever above 100.4, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing. 

JCDHE said it is working to identify any close contacts of the woman associated with the community college. Those that were exposed will be contacted by JCDHE as soon as possible, according to the release. The individual is hospitalized and doing well. The family of the individual is in quarantine.

"It is important to remember to take basic precautions like washing your hands, covering your cough and staying home when you are ill," JCDHE interim Director Mary Beverly said. "The local transmission has been expected; most people with mild symptoms will recover in a short amount of time."

On Friday, March 13, KDHE confirmed the sixth case of coronavirus in Kansas. 

KDHE said the case is in a Butler County man in his 70s who traveled outside the U.S.

The Butler County case comes one day after four new cases were identified on Thursday, March 12, including the first recorded coronavirus-related death in Kansas.

Thursday evening, a Wyandotte County man in his 70s died shortly after arriving at a hospital. A test during the postmortem examination confirmed the man had coronavirus (COVID-19).  

The man had been living at Life Care Center of Kansas City.

Earlier Thursday, KDHE reported three Kansans who attended a recent conference in Florida have all tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The cases are in Johnson County, and the three patients, all males, are in quarantine, KDHE reported.

It is believed the three men contracted COVID-19 while in Florida, according to a KDHE news release. The men were not symptomatic when traveling home and sought care once they began feeling ill, the agency reported.

“Right now, there is no community spread,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE secretary, said. “The cases in Kansas are here because of transmission elsewhere. However, Kansans should remain vigilant. It’s important to live your lives, but it’s also important to take basic precautions like exercising good hygiene practices. It is up to each of us to do our part.”

Gov. Laura Kelly said Kansas is working alongside local and federal public health partners in addressing presumptive-positive cases in the state.

“It is our highest priority to keep all Kansans healthy and safe,” Kelly said. “Everyone should continue to practice safe habits such as hand-washing and staying home when sick.”

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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