Live blog: Platte County reports first COVID-19 death

Posted at 5:34 AM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 21:32:24-04

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 20.

8:30 p.m. | The Blue Springs City Council unanimously approved on Monday an ordinance that allows businesses to "modify or expand their premises and seating" to serve more customers, according to a news release.

Businesses must contact the Community Development Department to apply for such modifications, and the mayor and city administrator have to approve the request.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt announced on Wednesdsay that more than 300 rural health clinics in the state will receive more than $17 million from the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services for expanded coronavirus testing.

“Making sure people in rural communities have access to coronavirus tests is critical to our state’s response and reopening efforts,” Blunt said in a news release. “This funding will expand coronavirus testing capabilities at hundreds of health clinics in underserved areas, providing resources for everything from supplies to staff training. Rural communities always face a unique set of health care challenges and this pandemic is no different. I’ve been encouraged by the Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to move quickly to get resources targeted toward rural hospitals and health care providers out the door. I will continue working with the administration to make sure rural Missourians continue to have access to care close to where they live.”

6 p.m. | The city of Blue Springs has canceled its Red, White and Blue Springs Fireworks Show on July 4. Residents will still be able to purchase fireworks from licensed vendors.

“We’re living in a time where we have to make hard, but necessary, decisions to keep our community safe and keep our City running,” Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross said in a news release. “This is an extremely difficult decision, but one we feel is in the best interest of our City as a whole and one that will not only by fiscally responsible for our City but also keep our residents safe and healthy in this uncertain time.”

5:50 p.m. | The Kansas City Streetcar says it had 18,585 rides in April, the first full month under the city's stay-at-home order. The streetcar says it was an 89% decline in ridership.

5:20 p.m. | The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council will vote Thursday on three ordinances that would allow restaurants to serve guests on sidewalks, parking lots and streets.

5:15 p.m. | The first Platte County resident has died from COVID-19. In a news release, the Platte Count Health Department said the patient was a woman in her 70s who had underlying health conditions. She tested positive for the virus on May 7.

4:10 p.m. | As the state of Kansas moves into Phase 2 of its reopening plan, youth sports will be allowed to resume on Friday while following specific state guidelines. Athletes can resume practices and games on Friday, but within their own county.

3:55 p.m. | High school and college graduates in the class of 2020 can receive free professional graduation portraits on the field at Children’s Mercy Park next week.

A limited number of time slots is available from 2 to 7 p.m. May 25 through 28.

2 p.m. | Lee’s Summit is currently accepting applications for Community Development Block Grant funding to provide relief to low- to moderate-income individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on the city’s website.

1:45 p.m. | Kansas officials on Wednesday announced a new program to help families who have been impacted by school closures because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Program will be issued in phases, with the first phase going to families who currently receive free or reduced-price meals and are enrolled in the food assistance or TANF programs. There is no application process necessary to receive the benefit.

1:40 p.m. | Wyandotte County will suspend its own reopening plan and instead adopt guidelines issued earlier this week by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly. Under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, more businesses, including movie theaters and casinos, will be allowed to reopen on Friday.

1:15 p.m. | As unemployment continues to rise in Kansas, the state actually paid benefits to fewer residents for the week ending May 16 than it had the two weeks before. According to new data released Wednesday by the Kansas Department of Labor, the number of Kansans receiving unemployment dropped by 5,732 people last week.

1:03 p.m. | Kansas has now topped 8,500 cases and reached 200 deaths related to COVID-19. That's an increase of nearly 150 cases and three deaths since yesterday, according to our database that includes reports from state and local health departments.

12:55 p.m. | Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte said that the Jackson County Department of Corrections currently has two inmates in medical isolation and three inmates in precautionary quarantine due to COVID-19. Another six non-inmates have tested positive and are self-quarantining. He did not specify whether those were staff members.

12:30 p.m. | Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas says he has asked the Jackson County Legislature for "initial and quick" funding of $27.1 million from the federal CARES Act. The money will go toward the city's health, fire and police departments and facilities sanitation efforts, Lucas said in a news release announcing the request.

The $27.1 million is part of $54.59 million that Lucas says the city is eligible to receive in CARES Act funding. On Monday, Lucas outlined to the county legislature how he intends those funds to be used.

Kansas City was not eligible for an initial wave of CARES Act funding because it does not meet the 500,000 threshold. Jackson County received a $122.7 million disbursement from the state.

12:10 p.m. | Kansas City, Missouri, Councilman Brandon Ellington will partner with another area church on Thursday to host a drive-thru food bank. It will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Victorious Life Church, 3400 Paseo.

Noon | Civil rights groups appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court after a local judge dismissed their lawsuit seeking to allow all Missourians to vote absentee in upcoming elections to help reduce the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus.

11:10 a.m. | KC SuperStar, a high school singing competition produced by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, will hold its semifinals virtually. The public will have the chance to vote online for the top 10 between June 1-10. The finalists will be announced during a livestreamed event on June 15.

10:45 a.m. | Powell Gardens will begin reopening to the public on Wednesday with "reimagined" programming and amenities, including self-guided activities and digital exhibitions supporting local artists. The botanical garden also has replaced its sit-down restaurant with a new model spearheaded by Chef Michael Foust of Black Sheep. Additional safety guidelines will be in place at the garden.

10:30 a.m. | Atmos Energy says it has temporarily suspended natural gas disconnections for non-payment and is offering payment plans for those struggling to pay their bills during the pandemic. Customers can set up payment plans online or call 888-286-6700 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

10:15 a.m. | Douglas County residents are asked to take a survey on whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19, as well as their thoughts on masks, phased reopenings and communication throughout the pandemic. This is the third survey the county has issued, and those who took it before are asked to take it again, along with new respondents. It will run from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 9 a.m. Saturday.

9:31 a.m. | The Roeland Park, Fairway and Westwood fireworks display held at Bishop Miege High School has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The display was scheduled for July 3. The cities canceled the event for safety and due to budget restraints caused by the pandemic.

9:07 a.m. | The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment created a resource for childcare centers looking to reopen for business that shows what steps to take and how to make the decision.

Visit to view the reopening decision tree.

— JCDHE (@JOCOHealth) May 20, 2020

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

8:01 a.m. | The National WWI Museum and Memorial will reopen to members on June 1 and to the general public on June 2. Guests should purchase tickets online and will be allowed to visit in one of two time slots: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2-5 p.m. The time slots allow for social distancing and cleaning measure to be put in place. The Liberty Memorial Tower will not be open.

7:35 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 20, 6am

6:50 a.m. | The Olathe Farmer's Market will open Wednesday with special social distancing guidelines in place.

Social distancing guidelines will be in place.

For a list of vendors, visit

— City Of Olathe, KS (@CityofOlatheKS) May 20, 2020

5:28 a.m. | If any area pools do open up for the summer months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released tips to stay safe while at the public facilities. The agency says there is no known risk of the virus spreading in pool water.

5:20 a.m. | Aside from a one-year uptick in 2014, U.S. births have been falling every year since 2007, when a recession hit the country. The drop continued even after the economy rebounded. Experts believe the pandemic will cause that trend to continue.

5:15 a.m. | For the first time in the state's history, the Missouri Governor's Mansion will be lit up on Wednesday evening to celebrate graduating high school seniors.

5 a.m. | On Wednesday, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly will travel to the White House to meet with President Donald Trump about COVID-19 in Kansas.

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
Monday, May 18
Tuesday, May 19