1st coronavirus-related death, local transmission reported in Kansas

Patient was man in his 70s in Wyandotte Co.
Posted at 6:36 PM, Mar 12, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas confirmed the first coronavirus-related death in the state Thursday afternoon.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly also announced a statewide state of emergency in response to the Wyandotte County man's death.

Kelly said the patient was a man in his 70s. He had been in a long-term health care facility and had underlying health conditions.

"Every effort is being made to mitigate the spread of the virus, including quarantining all who are known to have been in contact with this individual," Kelly said on the state's response to the COVID-19 death. "The situation also demands an emergency, which will grant my administration the ability to activate state resources and mobilize personnel to assist where needed in the state."

Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor/CEO David Alvey offered condolences to all who were affected by the death.

"We are terribly saddened to learn one of our own has passed away," Alvey said.

This is the first confirmed COVID-19 death in Kansas or Missouri.

"This is a rapidly changing situation," Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said during the news conference. "We're not overly surprised, but it is of note that it is the first locally derived death."

Earlier today, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Johnson County, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Kansas to five.

"It is also worth repeating to all Kansans this is not the time to panic," Kelly said. "Please continue to use common sense, hand-washing, coughing into your elbow and staying home when ill. This remains the best defense against COVID-19."

This also is believed to the first confirmed case of local transmission in Kansas or Missouri.

"He had to have gotten it from someplace, so it was by definition in the community," Norman said.

Providence Medical Center in KCK sent out a statement Thursday night about the incident.

According to the hospital, a patient was brought to the hospital Emergency Department on Tuesday by ambulance from a nursing home.

"Our staff and physicians immediately provided lifesaving care to stabilize the patient’s condition, following all infection control protocols set forth by KDHE and (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)," a statement from Providence Medical Center said.

The patient died Wednesday "less than 24 hours after admission due to complications," according to hospital.

His symptoms, including low blood pressure and high fever, prompted the COVID-19 test after he'd already died, which came back positive.

"Our hospital has identified the staff who came into contact with the patient while providing care and is following all guidelines regarding healthcare work exposure," the statement from Providence Medical Center said. "We extend our deepest condolences to the patient’s family. At this time, our top priority remains protecting public health and ensuring the safety of our patients, visitors, staff, physicians, volunteers, and community."

The Unified Government also is working to identify anyone else who may have been exposed to a COVID-19 infection.

"Unified Government Public Health Department, serving Wyandotte County, has been and will continue to conduct a contact investigation retracing the patient's steps so that we can identify anyone who may have been potentially exposed," Alvey said.