Coronavirus cases jump in Kansas, Missouri
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.
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.
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.
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.