First COVID-19 case confirmed in Jackson County

Patient is woman in 80s who has not traveled
Virus Outbreak Testing coronavirus
Posted at 1:21 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 14:37:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County says an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, the first confirmed case in the county.

The Jackson County Health Department said Tuesday the patient is a woman in her 80s who has not traveled recently.

The case, reported in eastern Jackson County, was identified through a private lab, according to the health department.

“We knew that COVID-19 was coming, and we’ve been preparing accordingly by monitoring individuals, educating the public and working with our partners at all levels,” Jackson County Health Department Director Bridgette Shaffer said in a news release.

County Executive Frank White Jr. said the first confirmed case came "as no surprise to anyone in our community."

"This is another call to action that we must take seriously and follow the guidance of public health experts," White said in the release. "If not, we risk seeing a wave of infections that could overwhelm our community's health care system."

On Monday, White amended an executive order to prohibit events with 10 or more people and close bars, restaurants and movie theaters, following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The order, with support from area superintendents, also closed schools through Friday, April 3.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II promised additional federal help.

"I remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure Missouri receives the federal support we will likely need in the coming weeks," Cleaver said in a statement. "My office is in close contact with local and state officials as well as community hospitals. While this is certainly not unexpected, it underscores the dire need for more testing capabilities in Missouri and across the country.”

The Jackson County Health Department said residents should continue taking precautions against the virus, including limiting in-person interactions and practicing social distancing.

Anyone experiencing symptoms, including cough, fever or respiratory problems, should contact their health care provider or an urgent care clinic to determine if testing is necessary.

As of Tuesday evening, there were 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri, including the patient in Jackson County and two in Cass County. There are 19 confirmed cases in Kansas.

“I encourage all of my constituents in the Fifth District to continue social distancing practices for the foreseeable future and call into Missouri’s coronavirus hotline should you have any questions at 877-435-8411," Cleaver said.