Live blog: 'Phase 1.5' starts Monday in Kansas

Posted at 5:36 AM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 20:52:34-04

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 May 18.

7:50 p.m. | The University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences told its faculty members in an email that enrollment for the fall semester is down 12% from where it was in 2019 and 9% from its three-year average.

5:40 p.m. | Monday marked the start of Phase 1.5 in Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's reopening plan. Gyms and fitness centers in the Kansas City metro say they have taken additional steps to follow the new rules.

5:20 p.m. | One of the first professional athletic events to allow spectators into the arena will be a sport known for its wild, dangerous action. Professional Bull Riders has announced a new competition that will culminate in South Dakota in July with live crowds.

4:20 p.m. | Swope Health will will offer COVID-19 testing at two sites this week. For more information, click here.

4 p.m. | Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says the state will be “extremely aggressive” in testing for COVID-19. During a news conference on Monday, Parson was joined by Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams, who said testing will be a pillar of the state’s response to COVID-19 going forward.

Watch the full news conference below:

3:20 p.m. | J.C. Penney will close almost 30% of its 846 stores as part of a restructuring under bankruptcy protection. That would leave the company with just over 600 locations. J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy reorganization on Friday, making it the biggest retailer to do since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shut down all stores.

2:50 p.m. | In light of a new cluster of COVID-19 cases stemming from a gathering at Lake Perry in Shawnee County earlier this month, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Dr. Lee Norman on Monday urged Kansans to take precautions over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

At a news briefing, Norman said being outdoors can give people "a false sense of security" and said that he has not been as worried about a weekend since the Easter holiday.

"I'm real concerned about it," he said at the briefing, which Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly did not attend due to a scheduling conflict. "But we're hoping that people will take it seriously."

Norman also said that he's encouraged by the latest statistics in Kansas, including the fact there was only one new death reported over the weekend. He said that some counties, including Johnson and Wyandotte, are starting to see improvement. Over the next five days, Norman said he expects to see stronger trends emerge related to the lifting of the statewide stay-at-home order earlier this month.

Watch Norman's full briefing below:

2:30 p.m. | The General Motors Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant will resume operations June 1 in Kansas City, Kansas.

GM initially suspended manufacturing operations in late March amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

1:10 p.m. | Children's Mercy says it will begin treating more pediatric patients under a "phased-in" reopening approach. On Monday, all clinics and the surgery department began to reschedule postponed appointments and schedule new appointments. Telemedicine visits will continue to be offered.

12:50 p.m. | According to data from the state and local health department, Leavenworth County is now the fourth county in Kansas with at least 1,000 positive COVID-19 cases. On Monday, the state as a whole added more than 300 cases.

12:10 p.m. | Kohl's has reopened its stores in Missouri, effective Monday. The company says it "has made significant enhancements to the store environment and staff operations to prioritize the health and safety of Kohl’s customers and associates."

11:30 a.m. | A lawsuit has been filed by a Kansas City, Missouri law firm against Brighton Gardens, a Johnson County long-term facility where 14 residents have died.

The suit, filed on behalf of the Gordon Grohmann family, alleges Grohmann, 88, died on May 1 from complications of COVID-19, which the suit alleges he contracted while at the facility.

10:40 a.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department announced five community COVID-19 testing sites Monday.

Testing will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to KCMO residents 7 years of age or older.

The health department said people don’t have to be symptomatic to be tested.

Tests will be given on a first come, first serve basis until supplies run out.

10:10 a.m. | Lenexa-based Thermo Fischer Scientific plans to increase COVID-19 test tube production to 8 million per week by fall.

10 a.m. | Mayor Quinton Lucas gave a presentation regarding COVID-19 costs to the City of Kansas City, Missouri.

8:56 a.m. | The Kansas Department of Corrections said Monday morning that an inmate at Lansing Correctional Facility died Saturday, May 16 due to complications of COVID-19.

The inmate, a man over 60 years-old, became the fourth inmate to die at the prison.

Two prison staff members have also died.

8:52 a.m. | University of Kansas Health System officials gave their daily COVID-19 update.

8:22 a.m. | The Macy's stores in Oak Park and at Town Center Plaza will reopen for in-store shopping, in-store pickup and curbside delivery Monday.

7:30 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 18, 7am

6:56 a.m. | Three Kansas City, Missouri, fountains will be turned on Monday as part of the parks department's reopening plan.

6:12 a.m. | The Independence School District scheduled times for all students to return to their schools and pick up personal items and yearbooks. The times are broken down by last name.

5:30 a.m. | The coronavirus crisis is causing many army personnel who were set to leave the military soon to extend their time of service.

5:15 a.m. | Harrisonville, Missouri, Mayor Judy Bowman shared an update on the state of COVID-19 in the city and encouraged residents to continue practicing social distancing guidelines to keep the city's case number low as businesses start to reopen.
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5 a.m. | KC Wine Co. will reopen their vineyard for in-person visits on Saturday. All vendors will be cashless and all drinking ware will be disposable. Guests will be asked to bus their own tables. Curbside pickup will still be available daily.

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
Friday, May 15
Saturday, May 16
Sunday, May 17