Kansas City COVID-19 Daily Briefing for Nov. 20

Posted at 11:05 AM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 12:05:08-05

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

The University of Kansas Health System now has 125 total COVID-19 patients in the hospital, including 78 with acute infections and 47 in recovery.

Among those patients, 34 are in the ICU and 21 are on a ventilator, which Dr. Dana Hawkinson said is "a higher proportion" than the hospital has had in the past few weeks.

The health system also reported two additional deaths related to COVID-19 overnight, bringing the total number of virus-related deaths to 119 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Dr. David Wild continued to stress that the United States and particularly the Midwest region has not yet begun to slow the curve of COVID-19 cases.

“We have not yet turned the corner in slowing new cases per day, and we anticipate the number of patients in the hospital will continue to climb as that curve, the new cases curve, continues to increase,” Wild said.

Other regions of the country also show increases in COVID-19 cases, though not at rates as high as the Midwest.

New restrictions take effect today

On Friday, new COVID-19 restrictions took effect in Kansas City, Missouri, and in Jackson and Wyandotte counties in the metro.

The municipalities adopted similar restrictions that include limiting gatherings to 10 people or fewer and closing bars and restaurants at 10 p.m.

Restrictions also go into effect on Monday in Clay and Platte counties.

Johnson County considers penalty for violations

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners on Thursday passed a resolution making noncompliance with COVID-19 restrictions a violation of the county code.

Under the resolution, which applies to businesses and mass gatherings rather than individuals, violators could face a fine up to $500.

Cities in Johnson County now must agree to allow county code enforcement officers the authority to distribute citations and fines within their limits.

Local governments consider mask mandates

The Leavenworth City Commission on Thursday voted to adopt a mask mandate requiring face coverings in indoor public spaces and in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.

Miami County, which opted out of a mask mandate in July, also will reconsider adopting the requirement at a special meeting on Monday.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order earlier this week establishing a statewide mask mandate. Counties have the option to let the order take effect, make changes to the order or opt out entirely.

Restaurants face challenges from COVID-19

Restaurants continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, the popular Gojo Japanese Steakhouse in Old Westport said that it would close its doors for good after four decades because of the impacts of the pandemic.

The restaurant will continue to sell its sauces at local grocery stores.

Lee’s Summit School District goes fully remote

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School Board voted Thursday to move its youngest students to virtual learning. All students in pre-kindergarten through third grade will shift to the virtual model on Monday. The district will stay remote until at least Jan. 11.

New tool helps assess risk factors

A new tool in the Kansas City, Missouri, area will help people gauge the riskiness of daily activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization Comeback KC launched its “KC Can I Do It?” risk assessment tool last week. The website uses five factors to determine the level of risk for contracting COVID-19.

Kansas unemployment rate drops

New data from the Kansas Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the unemployment rate in Kansas fell to 5.3% in October. It was a decrease from 5.9% in September.

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