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Live blog: Clay County relaxes some restrictions under Phase 2

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Posted at 5:27 AM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 20:20:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread across the world, and in Missouri and Kansas.

41 Action News is keeping track of all closings and cancellations, as well as tracking where positive coronavirus cases are located.

If you are a business finding unique ways to serve our community, check our KC Open for Business Facebook group to share your ideas.

Updates on the spread of the virus and how it is affecting the metro can be found below for June 15.

7:20 p.m. | The state of Missouri will fully reopen Tuesday under Gov. Mike Parson's "Show Me Strong Recovery Plan." The state will enter Phase 2, which lifts all restrictions. Local officials, however, will still have the option to put further restrictions or ordinances in place.

7:15 p.m. | As counties begin to reopen, venues that attract large crowds are working to navigate their own reopening process.

5:55 p.m. | New data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management shows the daily COVID-19 case-rate trend is increasing in 13 counties, including Leavenworth, Johnson and Wyandotte.

5:30 p.m. | The Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Department says it has identified its first outbreak in the community. Four individuals tested positive after exposure at a place of business, the health department said in a news release. Health department officials say they are "confident we have identified and communicated with everyone who was there."

4:55 p.m. | Clay County has issued some changes to Phase 2 of its recovery plan. Beginning Tuesday, all businesses, organizations and gatherings can operate with 50% occupancy. Gathering limits also will be relaxed to allow up to 250 people as long as social distancing is maintained.

Under the new exceptions, public and neighborhood association pools also can operate at 50% capacity.

The changes will expire at 12:01 p.m. on Sunday, July 5.

3:35 p.m. | Independence city officials on Monday announced another outbreak of COVID-19 cases at a long-term care facility, the second such outbreak to be identified in the city in less than a week. As of Monday, 39 people have become infected with the virus at Independence Manor, 1600 South Kings Highway.

3 p.m. | The University of Kansas announced Monday changes to its academic calendar and class offerings in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Classes will start on Aug. 24 as planned, but all in-person classes will conclude before Thanksgiving. Finals and a study week will be held remotely after Thanksgiving.

2:40 p.m. | The number of COVID-19 cases in the seven-county Kansas City metro has surpassed 7,000, including more than 2,000 in Jackson County.

Johnson County health officials on Monday also announced one additional death associated with the coronavirus, the 72nd in the the county.

1:50 p.m. | The John Knox Village in Lee's Summit confirmed Monday that five additional staff members at the Village Care Center location tested positive for COVID-19. All five employees are asymptomatic and passed their daily screenings, according to the company. The new cases bring the staff total to nine positive virus cases.

1:10 p.m. | Country star Kenny Chesney has rescheduled his “Chillaxification” Tour 2021 stop at Arrowhead Stadium for May 29, 2021 — the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. The tour initially was delayed due to COVID-19.

12:06 p.m. | All blood, platelet and plasma donations made through the American Red Cross are now being tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

The nation’s blood supply has dwindled during the pandemic and demand is increasing again as elective surgeries resume and cases of coronavirus have spiked again since Memorial Day.

The antibody tests — which do not confirm an infection, but instead indicate the presence of an immune response to the virus — will take place “for a limited time,” according to a release from the American Red Cross.

Test results will be available within seven to 10 days on the Red Cross mobile app or its online donor portal.

11:37 a.m. | Furloughed Kansas State University employees can receive financial assistance through a new emergency response fund.

Students, faculty and staff are eligible to receive help through the program, including some recent large donations specifically designated for staff experiencing financial strain due to furloughs related to COVID-19.

Grants of up to $700 are available for employees, while the Office of Student Assistance has resources for students.

11:23 a.m. | Park University is offering students uneasy about returning to campus due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic a new option for the 2020-21 academic year.

Through a new “gap year” program, undergraduate students “at colleges/universities across the country” can take unlimited online classes for a flat fee of $9,000.

“The campaign provides students with health concerns the peace of mind while staying home, a low tuition rate and the ability to stay on course to graduate on schedule,” the school said in a statement.

The caveat is that students must have been enrolled in college classes during the 2019-20 academic year and provide Park with official transcripts as proof of attendance.

Online classes are offered twice per semester in an accelerated, eight-week format. Park will waive the $35 application fee by using the code GAPYEAR.

11:06 a.m. | Libraries across the Kansas City area are beginning to reopen with some restrictions and service limitations this week after being closed to the public for three months.

9:46 a.m. | Shawnee will not open aquatic centers this summer due to CDC social distancing guidelines.

8:50 a.m. | University of Kansas Health System officials gave their daily COVID-19 update.

7:49 a.m. | Donates to the #KStateStrong Emergency Response Fund have been set aside specifically for K-State employees affected by furloughs. Those employees facing hardship because of COVID-19 can apply for grants up to $700 from the fund.

7:45 a.m. | Just starting your day? We’ve got you covered with a quick look at what you need to know.

41 Action News Latest Headlines | June 15, 6am

6:45 a.m. | Park University is offering undergraduate students across the country a year of unlimited online classes for a total of $9,000 during the upcoming school year. The option is being made available because of college students considering taking a year off due to health and financial concerts caused by COVID-19.

5:25 a.m. | Because the U.S. rushed to get COVID-19 tests out to the public at the beginning at the pandemic, it is being determined that some of the widely used tests may not be as accurate as hoped, according to the Associated Press. Scientists are now calling for wider studies on the tests' ability to accurately diagnose the virus, which would have been done prior to release under normal circumstances.

5 a.m. | The American Red Cross is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time starting Monday. The results will be available within seven to 10 days and will let donors know if they have been exposed to the virus and produced the antibodies. It is not a diagnostic test and as the antibody test is still developing, it is not a confirmation of infection or immunity.

Because hospitals are resuming surgeries and the need for blood is increasing, anyone who donates in June will receive a $5 Amazon gift card.

Previous coverage:
March 2020 updates
April 2020 updates
May 2020 updates
Monday, June 1
Tuesday, June 2
Wednesday, June 3
Thursday, June 4
Friday, June 5
Monday, June 8
Tuesday, June 9
Wednesday, June 10
Thursday, June 11
Friday, June 12