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Kansas City COVID-19 Daily Briefing for Nov. 19

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Posted at 11:33 AM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 12:33:47-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 41 Action News is offering a daily recap of COVID-19 related stories from across Kansas City and the country. Check back every morning for the latest developments.

LATEST: COVID-19 case tracker for Missouri, Kansas and Kansas City

University of Kansas Health System update

Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System said they have “more patients than beds” right now and are converting anesthesia recovery and post-op beds to help with overflow.

"I think we're going to have a tough time not having a complete shutdown because hospitals won't be able to take care of the patients,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Stites said.

The doctors commended Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s efforts for a more widespread mask policy in the state.

The hospital was treating 77 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, 36 of whom were in the intensive care unit with 13 on ventilators.

Kansas statewide mask protocol

Kelly announced a new statewide mask protocol in the state’s continued efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Counties have one week to come up with a mask ordinance that fits their community’s needs. If they do not, they will automatically be opted in to the state’s protocol.

Counties still have the option to opt out of any mask mandate at all, though Kelly said she believe many will use this opportunity to put guidelines in place.

Missouri state of emergency

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson extended the state’s emergency declaration through March 31, 2021, on Thursday morning.

Parson did not issue a statewide mask order, but said his administration is exploring avenues to alleviate increasing pressure on hospitals.

Ultimately, Parson said, it comes down to personal responsibility.

Parson on Thanksgiving

Parson said his family’s plans for Thanksgiving are changing this year, and he encouraged Missourians to consider altering their celebrations, too.

Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director, asked residents to make the tough, but wise, decision so this Thanksgiving isn’t remembered with regret.

More schools go virtual

Two more school districts in the Kansas City area announced plans to return to remote learning with COVID-19 cases on the rise.

In the Park Hill School District on the Missouri side, all students will move to virtual learning beginning Nov. 30 through Dec. 11.

On the Kansas side, middle and high school students in Olathe Public Schools will go remote after Thanksgiving.

Olathe elementary students will remain in full-time in-person learning.

Virtual learning in a pandemic is ‘what you make of it’

Virtual learning is a challenge for many families, and while one Grain Valley mom sympathizes with that, she also believes this time is what you make of it.

Diane Enlow shared her at-home school tips with 41 Action News.

“There's going to be a time when this is done, and this time if you're positive and you look at this as a time with your kids, that this is a gift that you've been given and make some memories and just do the best you can,” Enlow said.

She has a kindergartner, fourth grader and eighth grader at home.

KC hospitals taking on more rural COVID-19 patients

A portion of COVID-19 patients being cared for at Kansas City hospitals comes from rural areas.

To accommodate the influx of patients, hospitals are converting beds and assigning nurses to different floors.

One nurse 41 Action News spoke with said in some cases, nurses are not specifically trained to care for the patients to which they’ve been assigned, and they are caring for more patients than they would on a normal shift, too.

COVID-19 survivor shares near-fatal experience

A local COVID-19 survivor who was rushed to the hospital, where she spent nine days battling the virus, is encouraging everyone to remain vigilant and continue masking, social distancing and washing hands.

"For me, the life lesson is safety over socializing," Mia Ramsey said. "I don't know that I have to socialize that bad that I would risk my life without a mask."

Pregnancy and COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added pregnant women to the list of people most vulnerable to COVID-19.

A local doctor told 41 Action News pregnant women could be more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to changes that happen with their immune systems, heart and lungs during pregnancy.

Platte County issues new restrictions

Platte County was the latest in the metro to issue additional guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Similar to the restrictions issued in Kansas City, indoor food and drink vendors must operate at 50% capacity and close at 10 p.m.

Bar weighs legal options

Those and similar restrictions have local business owners considering their legal options.

Kansas City, Missouri’s restrictions would force the Blue Line to lose five hours of business each day. The owner and his attorney met ahead of Friday’s enforcement to discuss options.

In St. Louis, dozens of business owners filed a class-action lawsuit.

KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas said he doesn’t believe similar action here would change anything.

Jackson County jury trials canceled through December

Jackson County Circuit Court jury trials are canceled through December amid the rising case counts.

The court said it will not hold any more jury trials until at least 2021.

Many on Raiders starting defense out on COVID-19 list

Several members of the Las Vegas Raiders’ starting defense have been placed on the team’s COVID-19 list.

Some, but not all, may be cleared in time for the Sunday Night Football matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

At least four Chiefs were on the COVID-19 list as of Wednesday afternoon.

KU vs. Texas football game postponed

The University of Kansas football game against Texas slated for Saturday became the 13th college football game to be postponed amid positive COVID-19 tests.

The game has been moved to Dec. 12.

Johnson County business won’t follow mask mandate, owner says

A business owner in Johnson County won’t follow the county’s mask mandate despite visits from the district attorney’s office and scientific evidence that masking works to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Barry Cowden, who owns Don Cholito’s in Mission, said he believes the mandate is an encroachment on civil liberties.

Find more coronavirus news and resources from 41 Action News here.

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