KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Doctor Lee Norman does not like what he sees.
“It’s very discouraging,” admitted the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in a one-on-one interview with 41 Action News Friday.
“Both of these last two days have been record setting for the state of Kansas,” he pointed out.
In fact, data collected by 41 Action News shows Kansas, Missouri, the United States and the seven-county Kansas City metropolitan area all set records for the most new COVID-19 infections in a week from October 31 to November 6.
The metro area reported seeing nearly 6,000 new cases that week, about double the total from two weeks ago. Some school districts reconsidered their options as a result.
“I think people just don’t want to be inconvenienced, they want to have their normal life,” Norman tried to explain why cases are rising.
He warned a little inconvenience now will stave off disaster later. He’s encouraging people to wear masks, avoid crowds, and wash their hands.
This week, leaders of hospitals across the metro reiterated that concept saying if cases continue to rise, they’ll reach capacity. They specifically warned against gatherings of more than ten people for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
In Jackson County, Missouri, the health department is stressing the virus is unlike anything it’s ever seen.
“There is absolutely no comparison,” explained Ray Dlugolecki, the county health department’s assistant director.
He is urging people not to let their guard down.
“We’ve been in this crisis for eight months,” he said. “This is not an easy ask by any stretch of the imagination to remain consistent. We know it just takes one situation, one moment we happen to have contact with a case, that’s how transmission is perpetuated.”
This week Parlor temporarily closed its doors. The Crossroads-based food hall wrote on Facebook an employee tested positive for COVID-19 and it’ll close while other employees receive testing.
Norman said everyone practicing healthy habits is the best ways to keep the economy open.
“We want our businesses and our economy to thrive,” Norman said. “The way that you do that is by having a healthy community where people are attentive to social distancing, mask wearing, that way they are well enough to go to work. More and more, we are finding people are very attentive to these principles while they’re at work, but when they’re in their community, they let their guard down.”
Now is not the time to let your guard down. 41 Action News tracks coronavirus data on its website.