Johnson County confirms 1st coronavirus case in Kansas

Posted at 5:13 PM, Mar 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 06:21:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed that a Johnson County woman tested “presumptive positive” for the novel coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease known as COVID-19.

It is the first known case in the state Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced on Saturday.

Kelly said the the case involves a woman who is under 50 years old and lives in Johnson County, but no other information is being released to protect her privacy.

State officials said the woman is at home in isolation.

The test took place at the KDHE's Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories.

Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said his department is monitoring the situation closely, but the general public can help by practicing proper hygiene.

In the United States, there have been 416 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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On March 4, Kelly announced the state's plan in the event of a confirmed case. KDHE and the Kansas Department of Emergency Management are, according to the release:

  • "In constant communication with local hospitals and health departments, coordinating with local, state and federal public health partners;
  • Preparing for emergency management situations on a regular basis, with staff who have decades of experience in developing responses and preventative measures for any situation;
  • Continuing to work with federal, state and local partners to maintain awareness of national and international COVID-19 trends and strategies."

At a March 3 news conference, Kansas City, Missouri, officials said they were preparing for when, not if, the coronavirus hit the metro.

KCMO Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer recommended at that time that people stop shaking hands and continue to wash their hands vigilantly.

Schools in the Kansas City metro also have been proactive in planning for a potential outbreak of coronavirus.

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe illness and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those symptoms include fever, cough or shortness of breath, which may appear between two to 14 days after exposure.

According to the CDC, the virus spreads mainly from person-to person, either through close contact or through the air after a cough or sneeze.

The best way to stay healthy is to avoid exposure to the virus. The CDC recommends taking these preventive actions:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue away
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing

The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks to prevent the disease but says they should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent spreading it.