Coro­n­avirus cases jump in Kansas, Mis­souri

The Kansas City Star - - Local - BY LUKE NOZICKA lnoz­[email protected]­star.com The As­so­ci­ated Press and Star re­porters Cait­lyn Rosen, Kait­lyn Sch­w­ers and Judy L. Thomas con­trib­uted to this re­port. Luke Nozicka: 816-234-4104, @LukeNoz­icka

Of­fi­cials from across the Kansas City re­gion on Sun­day took ad­di­tional mea­sures to slow the spread of the new coro­n­avirus, as more peo­ple over the week­end in Mis­souri and Kansas tested pos­i­tive for the virus.

May­ors and pub­lic health of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing in North Kansas City and Leav­en­worth County, or­dered res­i­dents to stay at home. An in­fected Lenexa man died Satur­day, mark­ing John­son County’s first death from COVID-19. A Mis­souri law­maker, a pa­tient him­self, called for ex­panded test­ing.

At least 90 peo­ple in Mis­souri have tested pos­i­tive for the virus as of Satur­day night, an in­crease from 73 on Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to the state health depart­ment. Three peo­ple have died in the state, one each in Boone, Jack­son and St. Louis coun­ties.

Ad­di­tional cases over the week­end were iden­ti­fied in Kansas City, St.

Louis County, St. Louis city, Greene County, Boone County and John­son County. Pa­tients ranged in age across the state from un­der 20 to 70 or older.

At least 31 cases have been iden­ti­fied as trav­el­re­lated while 12 have in­volved peo­ple who had con­tact with some­one with COVID-19. Of­fi­cials listed seven as “no con­tact” cases, and 40 as “un­known.”

Five cases were tied to Tem­ple Is­rael’s preschool in the St. Louis re­gion. The syn­a­gogue said late Satur­day that four teach­ers have now tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19. A par­ent of a child at the preschool has also tested pos­i­tive.

All five are ei­ther re­cov­er­ing at home or are no longer symp­to­matic, ac­cord­ing to the syn­a­gogue.

STAY AT HOME

With the in­crease in pos­i­tive tests, of­fi­cials in Kansas City and Wyan­dotte, John­son and Jack­son coun­ties or­dered res­i­dents to stay home start­ing 12:01 a.m. Tues­day to limit the virus’ spread. Other ci­ties, such as Bel­ton, fol­lowed suit.

“We are all in this to­gether,” said James Per­son, the city’s po­lice chief and di­rec­tor of emer­gency man­age­ment.

Rep. Joe Ru­nions, a Demo­crat from Grand­view who re­mained hos­pi­tal­ized Sun­day after he tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19, said he was get­ting bet­ter but that re­cov­ery would be long. The state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, who no longer re­quired a ven­ti­la­tor, said he shared his ex­pe­ri­ences as a pa­tient with Gov. Mike Par­son and urged him to “do all in his power” to get health­care work­ers nec­es­sary sup­plies.

“My doc­tors are deeply con­cerned that they could run out of vi­tal sup­plies, es­pe­cially the equip­ment they need to keep them­selves safe while car­ing for pa­tients,” Ru­nions said in a state­ment.

Ru­nions’ physi­cians at St. Joseph Hos­pi­tal in Kansas City told him ex­panded test­ing was needed, he said in a let­ter to Par­son.

“I have no doubt ex­panded test­ing will save lives,” he said.

KANSAS DE­VEL­OP­MENTS

In Kansas, there had been two deaths and 64 con­firmed cases as of Sun­day af­ter­noon — 28 in John­son County and 14 in Wyan­dotte County. It was an in­crease from 55 cases on Satur­day.

The first per­son to die of the virus in John­son County was Den­nis Wil­son, of Lenexa, who was in his 70s. He died just five days after tests con­firmed he had COVID-19, his wife said on Face­book. He was a re­tired bi­ol­ogy teacher who be­came a school su­per­in­ten­dent.

“It has been an in­de­scrib­ably hor­ri­ble week of im­mea­sur­able suf­fer­ing on the part of the love of my life,” Wil­son’s wife wrote.

Among the re­cently iden­ti­fied cases was a se­cond in Reno County, where health of­fi­cials or­dered a 14-day quar­an­tine for all in­ter-county travel to John­son and Wyan­dotte coun­ties as well as Jack­son County, Mis­souri.

On Sun­day,

Leav­en­worth County is­sued a stay-at-home or­der that goes into ef­fect Tues­day, telling res­i­dents to stay home un­less they’re per­form­ing an “es­sen­tial ac­tiv­ity,” such as trips to the gro­cery store or the doc­tor.

The or­der goes into ef­fect the same day as ones in Kansas City and John­son, Jack­son and Wyan­dotte coun­ties. After 30 days, the ju­ris­dic­tions will con­sider whether to ex­tend the or­der.

The or­ders came as Kansas of­fi­cials said they would soon close the state’s 116 driver’s li­cense of­fices.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that will tem­po­rar­ily ex­pand telemedici­ne and loosen some of the reg­u­la­tions around it in re­sponse to the pan­demic.

The or­der en­cour­ages all doc­tors to use telemedici­ne when pos­si­ble.

It also al­lows out-of­s­tate physi­cians to treat pa­tients in Kansas via telemedici­ne with­out get­ting a li­cense from the state.

Na­tion­wide, there were more than 32,000 con­firmed cases and 404 deaths as of Sun­day af­ter­noon, ac­cord­ing to a data­base main­tained by Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity. World­wide, there were more than 328,000 cases and 14,366 deaths.

TAMMY LJUNGBLAD tljung­[email protected]­star.com

Med­i­cal as­sis­tant Moises Jimenez holds up a test kit at a drive-thru test­ing site for COVID-19 at the Sharon Lee Fam­ily Health Clinic on Fri­day in Kansas City, Kansas.

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