May 15 blog: FedEx says Olathe distribution plant site of cluster

Posted at 5:30 AM, May 15, 2020

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.

We are also keeping track of which metro jurisdictions are under stay at home orders for the foreseeable future, only allowing for essential business and activities.

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 May 15.

5 p.m. | A day after Johnson County Health Department officials announced the county’s first workplace cluster of COVID-19 cases, officials at shipping giant FedEx confirmed their Olathe distribution plant as the location of the cluster.

In a statement provided to 41 Action News, the company said they are working with local and state health officials to offer voluntary COVID-19 testing to employees and vendors at its Olathe facility.

4:30 p.m. | Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday that data on COVID-19 infections that had been trending downward, leading the state to begin reopening its economy, is beginning to fluctuate and flatten.

Kelly discussed the issue one day after slowing the reopening of the state’s economy by ordering bars and bowling alleys to remain closed at least through the end of the month.

4:20 p.m. | Maroon 5’s scheduled tour, which included a stop with Meghan Trainor on Aug. 27 at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, has been postponed.

4:14 p.m. | Mid-Continent Public Library will launch a curbside service, allowing customers to pick up materials placed on hold and verified ready for pickup, on Monday morning.

Customers should call ahead to the branch and follow signs in the library parking lot. A library staff member will bring the items to the customer’s vehicle.

4:06 p.m. | The Missouri Republican State Committee’s Executive Committee voted Wednesday to conduct its state convention by mail-in ballot. The event had been planned for next month at the St. Charles Convention Center.

Nominations for delegates, electors and national committee members will be accepted through early June with a ballot printed up and mailed shortly thereafter. Final dates are being ironed out.

3:38 p.m. | The Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners’ office at Union Station will reopen Monday for walk-in absentee balloting.

Voters, who are encouraged to wear face coverings and gloves while at the office, must use the west door by the post office. Union Station’s front doors won’t reopen until at least June 1.

Absentee ballots, which must be applied for by May 20, may be cast until 5 p.m. on June 1 and mail-in absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on June 2.

3:21 p.m. | The U.S. department of Agriculture announced Friday that the Food and Nutrition Service has extended waivers for meal times, parental pickup and “non-congregate feeding” designed to allow schools and other federally funded meal programs to continue through Aug. 31, 2020.

3:15 p.m. | Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman held a COVID-19 briefing Friday afternoon.

The governor talked about her decision to instate “Phase 1.5,” of reopening.

Norman reviewed case numbers and said his department has been made aware of one case of the rare inflammatory syndrome affecting some children with COVID-19 at a Children’s Mercy facility on the Kansas side.

2:56 p.m. | There are now more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County, combining data from the county and KCMO health departments. With 1,007 confirmed cases to date, Jackson County has joined Wyandotte County as the only counties in the metro with at least 1,000 cases.

There have been 30 confirmed deaths in Jackson County related to the coronavirus and 69 in Wyandotte County, according to health department data.

1:19 p.m. | Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order removing some shared work restrictions. Shared work allows employers to divide available work between employees and keep more people on payroll. Kelly said the change will allow more employers to take advantage of available federal programs.

"The order waives a provision in the law that prohibited a contributing negative account employer (an employer that has paid more in unemployment benefits to its employees than it has contributed to its unemployment insurance account with the state) to participate in a shared work plan," the release read.

1:15 p.m. | New data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and county health departments show Kansas is approaching 8,000 COVID-19 cases in the state.

New reports pushed the number to 7,922 cases and 190 deaths.

11:45 a.m. | Missouri Gov. Mike Parson stopped in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday to tour the Ford Claycomo Plant. Workers at the plant are set to resume a phased reopening to production on Monday, May 18.

Parson told reporters he feels that employees will be impressed with the safety measures the company has taken as workers return to the plant.

11 a.m. | The Kansas City, Kansas, Public School District posted Friday morning that families with children who received free or reducted-price meals in the 2019-2020 school year will receive $291 per child in an effort to help parents purchase food.

More information about the program is on the available from KCKPS.

9:48 a.m. | Phase One of reopening for Science City will begin on June 10 and will include timed sessions, carefully controlled guest capacities, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, and will prioritize Union Station Member admissions to Science City and the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium for the first week.

Starting June 17, “phase two” admission to both attractions will open to the public. All tickets must be purchased ahead of time online. More details can be found on their website.

9:13 a.m. | Two Walmarts in Wyandotte County will have COVID-19 testing on Friday. One will be the location at 10824 Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas, and the other will be the location at 12801 Kansas Ave. in Bonner Springs. The tests are a partnership between Walmart and eTrueNorth. Anyone interest needs to visit a website to register. These sites are not affiliated with Unified Government pop-up sites.

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

7:40 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 | May 15, 7am

7:08 a.m. | KC Parks canceled several events that were scheduled for this weekend. Foodtruck Friday at Union Cemetery, the Summer Dusk 2020 Concert in Kessler Park and Kansas City's Train Day 2020 are included

6:16 a.m. | Large-scale COVID-19 testing is underway this week at the Smithfield Foods plant in Milan, Missouri.

5:29 a.m. | World Health Organization emergencies director Dr. Michael Ryan suggested on Wednesday that there is a possibility that the coronavirus may never truly disappear, becoming endemic, like HIV and the flu.

5:15 a.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department says it plans to resume normal parking enforcement on Friday when the city's stay-at-home order lifts. Parking control officers have been ignoring time-limited zones during the order.

5 a.m. | Wahlburgers, Hy-Vee and Cresent Capital will donate 2,000 meals Thursday and Friday to health care workers in the Kansas City area. The Olathe Fire Department will deliver meals to seven local hospitals: KU Satellite Indian Creek, KU Medical Center, KU Lenexa, St. Luke’s North, St. Luke’s South, St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City and Olathe Medical Center.

Previous coverage:
March 2020 updates
April 2020 updates
Friday, May 1
Saturday, May 2
Sunday, May 3
Monday, May 4
Tuesday, May 5
Wednesday, May 6
Thursday, May 7
Friday, May 8
Saturday, May 9
Sunday, May 10
Monday, May 11
Tuesday, May 12
Wednesday, May 13
Thursday, May 14