KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County officials on Friday reported the first death in the county related to COVID-19.
The patient was a woman in her 80s who had not recently traveled, Jackson County Health Director Bridgette Shaffer said at a news conference Friday afternoon. She had previously been identified as a COVID-19 patient.
Shaffer also said that five new cases of COVID-19 had been identified in Jackson County, bringing the total to eight in the county.
Health officials believe the virus is now being spread by community transmission in Jackson County.
In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, Jackson County Administrator Troy Schulte said there are no exceptions to the 10-person gathering limit, including weddings and funerals.
He said schools will likely remain closed beyond the current April 3 date, but there is no immediate information on how long the closure will be.
"We are encouraging all residents in need of county services to contact us by email or phone," Schulte said.
County services will continue, but the courthouse and county officials will be off-limits through at least April 3.
"And I would expect them to be extended for the foreseeable future," Schulte said.
The Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence has asked for all businesses except gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies to help prevent the COVID-19 spread.
Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. also called on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to make statewide changes "and take the leadership a governor should have at this time."
He suggested following Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's lead rather than leave the onus on county and city governments, who are willing to do their part.
"It's been a very hectic time for everyone, but it's going to take everyone... to get through this," White said. "I do think we'll get through this and emerge even stronger from this, but it will take collaboration."
County officials said drive-thru and carryout services for restaurants, bars and taverns are still allowed. Salons are urged to follow the gathering limit of 10 people or less, including their staff who are working.
Day cares are encouraged to remain open at this time.
Theresa Galvin, chairwoman of the Jackson County Legislature, asked residents to continue practicing social distancing and good hygiene during the pandemic.
"I know it seems so easy and so simple, but it’s going to take all of us pulling together to prevent the spread of this virus," Galvin said at the news conference.
Missouri residents with questions about COVID-19 should call the Department of Health and Senior Services Hotline at 1-877-453-8411.
Other updates will be posted at www.jacksoncouty.gov and on the county's social media accounts. Residents with outstanding property assessment appeals can still call the County Assessment Department.