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Kansas City leaders detail preparations, answer questions about coronavirus

KCMO officials discuss coronavirus.png
Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 07:01:41-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, leaders discussed plans to stop the spread of the coronavirus when, not if, it hits the Kansas City area.

Mayor Quinton Lucas and two local health officials, KCMO Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer and KCMO EMS Medical Director Dr. Erica Carney, briefed the media Tuesday about ongoing discussions the city has been engaged in for weeks.

City officials said they have been meeting with and speaking to regional, state and federal health officials creating protocols for the coronavirus.

"This is not our first dance," Archer, who has been with the KCMO Health Department for more than three decades, said.

Lucas said city staff also have been in communication with businesses, hospitals and other health care providers as well as transportation leaders.

"To make sure that we have enough folks that will be prepared to address the issues, to make sure that we're going through good practices such as cleaning our facilities, making sure that we're directing all of our employees to wash their hands and do some of those basics, encouraging folks to stay home if they feel sick," Lucas said. "A lot of those frankly rudimentary things that can help us stop the spread of the virus."

Archer's recommendation includes a call to stop shaking hands.

"As we've said, namaste," he said bowing, "and the elbow bump. I'm asking people for a moratorium of handshaking and let's wash our hands."

The city plans to continue providing coronavirus-related updates at kcmo.gov, but residents also can stayed informed about preparations by texting "COVID" TO 888777.