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Although Miami County still has no official cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), a patient from Missouri who tested positive was in Miami County when the test took place, county health officials confirmed.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been releasing daily reports detailing how many cases of the virus have been identified in Kansas and in what counties.

The report on Wednesday, March 18, reported 21 total cases in the state, 11 in Johnson County, five in Wyandotte County, two in Leavenworth County, one in Douglas County, one in Butler County and one in Franklin County.

But the report also stated that Ford and Miami counties reported positive cases in out-of-state residents. Those numbers are included in the patient’s home state.

Christena Beer, a disease investigator at the Miami County Health Department, said an out-of-state resident could be someone who traveled from their home state to Miami County to get tested or someone who was traveling through and stopped to get tested at a location in Miami County.

She said that, due to HIPAA regulations, she could not confirm or deny the case was the same as the one from Drexel, Mo., that was reported recently in Cass County, but she did confirm the case involved a Missouri resident.

Beer added that it is the responsibility of the patient’s home county health department to identify everyone who the person has had contact with and ask them to self quarantine for 14 days, and she has received confirmation that the task has been completed in the Missouri patient’s case.

Beer emphasized that if someone is wondering where to get tested because they are symptomatic, it is recommended they call their health care provider to determine whether they meet criteria for testing. After an evaluation, the health care provider will determine whether a COVID-19 test is necessary, she said.

The Miami County Health Department recently posted a link on its Facebook page to a Nurse Call Center being offered by Olathe Health. Local residents who suspect they have mild symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with a confirmed case or have questions about recent travel are encouraged to call the hotline at (913) 782-2224 or toll free at 1 (877) 544-2224.

The hotline is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Beer said the hotline will help reduce the influx of calls the county health department is receiving, but she emphasized that anyone experiencing serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek immediate help at the emergency room and call ahead to alert the ER of the situation.

Editor and Publisher Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or brian.mccauley@miconews.com.

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