Oct. 1 blog: Missouri, Kansas post record numbers of COVID-19 deaths in September

Posted at 7:38 AM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 23:29:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We have been tracking the spread of COVID-19 in the Kansas City area since the start of the pandemic.

Whether it's stories about how we bounce back through our Rebound KC effort, important information as school resumes or critical information about the November election, trust 41 Action News to keep you informed.

Businesses finding unique ways to serve our community can share ideas and connect on our KC Open for Business Facebook group.

Updates on the spread of the virus and how it is affecting the metro can be found below for Oct. 1.

8:28 p.m. | Analysis of COVID-19 data reported by state and local health departments shows the number of cases and deaths in Kansas and Missouri continues to accelerate.

Missouri and Kansas also set new records for the number of new cases reported in September, while both states and the seven-county Kansas City region set new records for the number of deaths reported in a single month.

Missouri health departments reported 597 deaths related to COVID-19 in September, breaking the previous high of 433 deaths reported in May. It also represented a 78.2% increase from August.

Kansas wasn’t spared. There were 226 deaths reported last month across the state, which is more than double the total for August (94) and shattered the previous monthly record for the state (120 in April).

The KC area — which includes Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte in Kansas along with Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri for our tracking purposes — also saw a record number of deaths with 140 in September, a 35.9% increase from August. —TP

6:15 p.m. | Within hours of KC Water announcing that it would resume disconnecting water service to customers with delinquent accounts, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and the KCMO City Council reversed that decision Thursday afternoon.

Lucas, 6th District At-Large Councilwoman Andrea Bough and 3rd District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson sponsored an ordinance, which passed the council, to suspend water shutoffs until at least Jan. 16, 2021. —TP

4:50 p.m. | The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has released updated recommendations for schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised recommendations include an expanded hybrid option for middle and high schools if appropriate safety precautions can be taken. —AW

4 p.m. | The Leavenworth Board of Education on Wednesday voted 6-1 to move young students to full in-person learning beginning Monday, Oct. 5. The move affects students in pre-K through fourth grade who are enrolled under the in-person learning model.

Secondary students in fifth through 12th grades will remain in the current hybrid schedule at this time.

The board also voted 7-0 that any employee of the school district who is quarantined due to job-related exposure to COVID-19 will not need to use their personal leave for those absences. —AW

3:30 p.m. | The Missouri Office of Workforce Development will hold a series of online job fairs through Dec. 15. Participants will meet with potential employers and receive tips on resume writing and interview skills.

The virtual job fairs will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays. Find more information at —AW

2:45 p.m. | Douglas County has amended a health order that will extend the hours that restaurants and bars can serve alcohol.

Beginning Friday, Oct. 2, all restaurants, bars and entertainment venues with liquor licenses must stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and close their doors, including outside seating areas and patios, no later than midnight.

The previous order required those places to stop serving alcohol at 9 p.m. and close an hour later.

“We believe we have seen good results in our work with local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in offering them guidance and support on how to comply with the health orders and offer safe environments through social distancing and mask wearing,” Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department Director Dan Partridge said in a news release. “We appreciate the work of the Lawrence Restaurant Association members and establishment owners for their efforts and continuing dialogue on how to create environments that can help minimize risk for COVID-19 exposure and to help businesses." —AW

2 p.m. | The University of Kansas saw a slight decline in enrollment this year as it continues to face "unprecedented" financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kansas State University reported a similar drop in enrollment. —AW

1:33 p.m. | KC Water announced Thursday it will lift a moratorium on water service shutoffs due to non-payment starting Nov. 1.

The announcement applies to both residential and business accounts, and the company is urging customers who are struggling to pay their bills to reach out. —DM

1:20 p.m. | Two students at Spring Hill High School tested positive or presumed positive for COVID-19 this week, the district said on Thursday.

All families were notified of the positive cases, and the district is following recommendations from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.

Currently, the high school is in remote learning. —AW

1:15 p.m. | Kansans who are eligible for an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits because of the coronavirus pandemic can begin applying for the funds Friday.

Gov. Laura Kelly announced the state will begin processing applications for the Lost Wages Assistance payments on Friday. The payments are in addition to regular federal unemployment benefits under the federal Lost Wages program.

12:30 p.m. | The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended a no-sail cruise order through the end of October. The order had been set to expire late Wednesday night.

The New York Times reported that the CDC wanted to extend the order into February but that the White House blocked the move. —AW

10:30 a.m. | The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week to a still-high 837,000, evidence that the economy is struggling to sustain a tentative recovery that began this summer.

10 a.m. | Applications are now open for the new Remote Learning Grant program in Kansas, which aims to help address learning and supervision needs of school-age children who are not attending school in-person because of the pandemic.

“Providing a safe place to learn is not only essential for a child’s development, but it will also play a critical role in strengthening our economy by allowing Kansas parents to continue working while kids are learning from home,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news release. “I strongly encourage eligible entities to get their applications in quickly so we can make these services available to Kansans as soon as possible.”

The $40 million in available funding will be awarded on an ongoing basis. Those eligible to apply include school-age programs, child care providers licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and those with "demonstrated experience and success" delivering out-of-home education services and programs for school-age children, according to the state.

Applications are available online. —AW

9:30 a.m. | City Union Mission is kicking off an annual fundraiser campaign, seeking to raise $7 million as it prepares for increased demand next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Economic hardship, magnified by the COVID-19 crisis, lack of opportunity and affordable housing and other tragedies continue to jeopardize people in our community,” Chief Executive Officer Terry Megli said in a news release. “The need for food, shelter and life-transforming guidance remains ongoing and critical."

City Union Mission provides shelter and life essentials for homeless men, women and children. The Mission says it serves an average of 550 meals to shelter guests and people from surrounding neighborhoods.

Donations to the campaign can be made online. —AW

8:44 a.m. | University of Kansas Health System officials gave their daily COVID-19 update. -KB

7:30 a.m. | Just starting your day? We’ve got you covered with a quick look at what you need to know. -KB

41 Action News Latest Headlines | October 1, 6am

7:15 a.m. | Despite pandemic job downturns, the General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant is looking to hire 10 full-time and 60 part-time employees. Positions include both skilled and unskilled options and training will be provided. -KB

7 a.m. | Last week, 837,000 more people in the U.S. filed for unemployment benefits as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. -KB

Previous coverage:
March 2020 updates
April 2020 updates
May 2020 updates
June 2020 updates
July 2020 updates
August 2020 updates
September 2020 updates