Health officials confirm 21 positive cases of COVID-19 in Kansas

UnityPoint Health - Trinity is issuing new visitor restrictions during continued widespread seasonal influenza activity and the global outbreak of COVID-19. (MGN Image)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Health officials confirm there are now 21 positive COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in the state.

On Wednesday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said there were two new cases in Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties, and one new case in Johnson County.

KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman says Johnson County reached a level of community transmission, meaning five out of 11 cases were acquired locally and not through travel or known contacts.

Ford and Miami counties have reported one positive case, but they won't be included in the state's official count. The patients are from out of state.

Right now, testing kits are in short supply. Health officials say testing needs to be prioritized for the sickest residents to avoid excessive testing. KDHE recommends people who have mild symptoms, isolate at home for at least seven days after the symptoms have started or 72 hours after fever has gone.

"KDHE will continue to isolate and quarantine based on changing standards. Isolation and quarantine orders previously assumed to be voluntary in areas with community transmission are now mandatory," said Norman.

He says it's hard to get people in the western half of the state tested for coronavirus. Environmental staff who have cars are encouraged to bring lab tests from the west back to Topeka.

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The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirms the first confirmed positive COVID-19 (coronavirus) case in Douglas County in northeast Kansas.

The case in the county that includes Lawrence and the University of Kansas is the 16th positive COVID-19 case in the state, the KDHE reports. Of that total, one person died. The state's lone fatal case from the virus was a man at Life Care Center of Kansas City, Kan. in Wyandotte County.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 10 confirmed cases are reported in Johnson County (in the Kansas City metro area), three cases in Wyandotte County and one case each in Butler, Douglas and Franklin counties.

A case confirmed in Ford County is separate from the 16 as it involved someone traveling to the county and not anyone living in the county.

Also as of Tuesday afternoon, the KDHE reports 417 negative tests for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).