Health official expects coronavirus to peak in Kansas in mid-to-late April

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH/RELEASE) Friday, March 27, 2020 - 9:15 p.m.

COVID-19 coronavirus graphic by MGN.

Two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 tack onto the state's total that's surpassed 200.

Stevens County reports its first confirmed case involves a man "who traveled to an area outside of Stevens County with a high incident of COVID-19 transmission."

The Stevens County Health Department says it "is working to identify all close contacts of this individual and those who were exposed are being contacted."

Another of the most recent confirmed COVID-19 cases is the seventh for Reno County. Reno County says its seventh case is a woman in her 70s with no known travel history. That woman is in home isolation, the county says.

-----

Friday, March 27, 2020 - 1:30 p.m.

Kansas' leading health official said he projects Kansas will reach its peak in COVID-19 cases by mid to late April.

By that time, Dr. Lee Norman, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said he expects there will be nearly 900-1,000 cases of coronavirus in the state.

Kansas currently has 202 cases of COVID-19 in 31 counties including four deaths. Norman said he doesn't see the state's number doubling daily but he does expect to see more cases - and more deaths.

He said the state lab is testing 175 specimens daily. New equipment expected to arrive within the next week could increase the testing to 700-1000 per day. Testing criteria for the state remain limited to healthcare workers, first respondeders, illness clusters, people over the age of 60 and those who are immuno-compromised or have underlying health conditions.

Dr. Norman said the KHDE lab now runs seven days a week running tests. He encourages doctors and hospitals to use private-commercial labs to help run more tests as the state's supply is limited.

On Thursday, Kansas received two semi loads of personal protective equipment from the FEMA national stockpile. Dr. Norman pointed out the supply is not endless. He said now is the time to worth with companies to create our own supplies - even within our state.

"We're continuously looking for is how do we find how do we manufacture even within our own state reconfigure companies to develop masks, surgical-grade gowns, and even gloves. Looking at an opportunity with a company here to make nonlatex containing gloves," said the secretary.

-----

Friday, March 27, 2020 - 1:00 p.m.

Sedgwick County now reports 21 cases of coronavirus.

Health officials said Friday, the virus can now be classified as community spread. This means there are five or more cases that are not related to travel and cannot be tracked to someone who previously tested positive for the virus.

County Commission Chairman Pete Meitzner talked about the closure of the Starlite Drive-in. The drive-in was approved to be open on Thursday during Sedgwick County's 30-day stay-at-home order. That decision was shut down on Friday.

"This order was created for people to stay at home, to slow the spread," said Meitzner.

Health Department Director Adrienne Byrne addressed testing in the county. She said some of the drive-thru methods taking place around Wichita are actually people being swabbed. She said those swabs are then sent to labs where the specimens are tested.

On Thursday, 16 residents were swabbed for COVID 19. As of 8:15 a.m., 14 scheduled appointments at the Sedgwick County Health Department. This can be done by appointment only.

Anyone who believes they have come into contact with COVID 19 or has symptoms should contact 211. Staff will screen for criteria to be tested then callers will be connected with Sedgwick County Health Department. You will be screened and scheduled for testing.

The county will continue its push for social distancing and hand washing.

"Those things can help save lives and will make a difference and will save lives. It's important to remember, last week, we had one case and now, we have 21 and those are going to continue to increase," said Byrne.

The county continues its requests for masks (N95/surgical), nasal swabs and viral transport medium. The Sedgwick County Emergency Management will coordinate all donations. Anyone who wants to donate can call 316-660-5959.

All other questions can be addressed at Sedgwick County Hotline: 316-660-9000.

Remember, only call 911 if you have an emergency.


----
Friday, March 27, 2020

Health officials confirm another person has died of COVID-19 in Wyandotte County, bringing the total deaths in Kansas to 4.

No information about the patient was released. There have been two others in the county that have died of the virus.

Johnson County has one reported death.

----

Update Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 9:45 p.m.

The Ottawa County Health Department confirms the county's first positive COVID-19 case, bringing the state's total to 178.

"The individual is currently maintaining in-home isolation and is stable," the county says.

Ottawa County did not release information on the case.

As confirmed cases in the state increase, several Kansas counties issue stay-at-home orders that in part, close bars and restaurant lobbies and encourage people to stay home unless they're going out for essential purposes including doctor's visits, trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, to taking care of a relative, etc...

Several counties in Kansas have issued stay-at-home orders including Gove, Sedgwick, Sumner and most of the counties in and around Kansas City.

Barton and Thomas counties have called for all restaurants, dining facilities, bars, taverns, clubs, and movie theaters to close except those that provide curbside, drive-through or delivery services.

In Thomas County, health and fitness centers can remain open with special permission from the local health officer. In Barton County, they must close.

-----

Update Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 9:30 p.m.

McPherson County says its first positive case of COVID-19 involves a woman in her 70s "with known recent cruise-ship travel."

"The patient is recovering in isolation at home," the county says.

-----

Update Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 8:30 p.m.

The Coffey County Health Department announces its first case of COVID-19.

"Testing sent to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's laboratory identified the positive case," the health department says.

The case in Coffey County involves a 65-year-old man, the health department says.

-----

Update Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 7:00 p.m.

Two more cases of coronavirus have been reported in Kansas.

Reno County reported its sixth case, a woman in her 60s, with known contact to a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. She is currently in an intensive care unit.

Gove County reported its first case: "a young, healthy female with out-of-state travel."

The Gove County Health Department is working to identify any close contacts of the woman and those were exposed will be contacted as soon as possible. Those contacts will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

Gove County says its local health officer has approved a stay-at-home order that takes effect at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020.

-----

Update Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 6:10 p.m.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports at least 168 cases of COVID-19 in 21 counties.

Harvey County reported its first case on Thursday and Reno County reported a total of five cases which would bring the number to 170.

The counties with more than 10 cases include Douglas (13), Johnson (59), Leavenworth (12), Sedgwick (16) and Wyandotte (34).

Males continue to outpace women testing positive for the disease in Kansas: 90 men to 78 women (current cases).

Patients range in age from 7 to 90 years old, with a median age of 54.

Nearly 3,000 people have tested negative for coronavirus in Kansas.

----

Update Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 11:25 a.m.

Sedgwick County now reports 13 confirmed cases on COVID-19, as of the end of the day on Wednesday.

As of 11:25 a.m., there were a reported 126 cases in Kanas, not including a newly reported case in Sumner County, Reno County now reports five cases and now a total of 50 confirmed cases in Johnson County.

Presumptive positive cases:

The county released the following details on how it's dealing presumptive positive cases:

o If the patient was working while symptomatic, the health department works with the patient, the patient’s manager, and Human Resources department to determine all close contacts.
o Names of businesses are not disclosed.
o Close contacts are people who are less than 6 feet apart for more than 10 minutes.
o Contacts are monitored for symptoms.
o All businesses that are still open should practice social distancing and common sense cleaning/ sanitizing.

The health department will begin posting information related to all Sedgwick County cases on its website. The table will be updated daily at noon.

So far this week, the health department has swabbed almost 40 individuals who meet the criteria for testing. This is done by appointment only. Residents who think they need to be tested should call United Way at the Plains at 211.

Sixteen (16) people were swabbed during a pre-scheduled appointment on Wednesday. Thirteen (13) people have appointments on Thursday.

Testing

Due to wide-scale shortages of laboratory supplies and reagents, testing for COVID-19 at the state lab is being prioritized for public health purposes and urgent need. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will prioritize specimens for COVID-19 testing based upon those who meet KDHE criteria starting (Monday) March 23. Those include:

o Healthcare workers and first responders who have COVID-19 symptoms
o Potential clusters of unknown respiratory illness, with priority given to long-term care facilities and healthcare facilities
o Hospitalized patients with no alternative diagnosis
o Individuals over the age of 60 who have symptoms of COVID-19 with priority given to people who reside in a nursing home, long-term care facility, or other congregate settings, and
o Individuals with underlying health conditions that would be treated differently if they were infected with COVID-19.

Specimens that were sent to KDHE prior to March 23 will still be tested.

Donations

County Manager Tom Stolz said the county has seen an influx in donations since the request for materials went out. On Wednesday, WSU and Textron, together, donated 1,500 N-95 masks for local first responders.

Sedgwick County said it will be moving its daily briefings to 1 p.m. opposed to 11 a.m. to provide updated information from the Kansas Department who receives its updates at 11 a.m. The Medical Society of Sedgwick County dropped off a large donation of items too.

If you are a business and would like to offer support/ donations to keep our public safety and healthcare workers safe, contact Sedgwick County Emergency Management and (316) 660-5959. Items needed include:

o Protective face masks: N-95 or surgical masks
o Non-latex, medical gloves
o Hand sanitizer
o Surface cleaners
o Non-permeable/fluid resistant gowns
o Nasopharyngeal specimen collection – swab and viral transport medium

If residents have questions about the order they can call (316) 660-9000 or email stayathomefaq@sedgwick.gov.

If residents have general questions about COVID-19 or if they think they need to be tested for it they can call United Way of the Plains at 2-1-1. · For up-to-date information, visit www.sedgwickcounty.org.
-----

Update Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 1:25 p.m.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports there are now 126 confirmed cases in Kansas. Forty-eight cases were confirmed by the KDHE lab while 78 were done at commercial labs.

Earlier this week, KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said testing would be limited to healthcare workers and first responders, illness clusters and vulnerable populations - those who are over 60 years old with underlying health conditions.

Norman said the state has about 900 sample kits left and is running 150-200 tests at the current rate.

One thing the health secretary stressed during Wednesday's briefing was the importance of people abiding by stay-at-home orders.

"It's not a game of avoiding the exceptions to justify going out in the community. Where there's an order in your community or not, stay-at-home shelter in place and if you must go out for these essential tasks observe those social distancing rules if you will that are proven through epidemiology. these are not just made up, they are proven to be effective," Norman said.

He said if the rules are followed, it could help lessen the impact on the healthcare system. Plus, he said the hope is that there will be a vaccine or anti-viral medication in the future.

------

Update Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 11:15 a.m.

There are now more than 100 cases of the coronavirus in Kansas.

Sedgwick County says three more people tested positive for the virus bringing the county's total up to 10. The three new cases are currently under investigation by the health department.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports 98 total cases in the state, as of Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Three deaths have been reported statewide: one in Johnson County and two in Wyandotte.

Reno County reported its third case. Health officials say the patient is a woman over 60 years old who recently traveled to a known community transmission state.

Mitchelle County says it was notified Wednesday about its second case of COVID-19. The health department says the patient is a man over 60 years old with recently known exposure. He is maintaining in-home isolation and is stable.

As the numbers of COVID-19 continue to increase in Kansas so do the stay at home orders. The following counties have enacted the measure: Atchison, Coffey, Doniphan, Douglas, Johnson, Leavenworth, Lyon, Miami, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte.

-----

Update Wednesday morning March 25, 2020 - 6 a.m.

KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) --- A man in his 70s is the second person to die in Wyandotte County from the coronavirus, health officials say.

The man passed away on March 23 after having been admitted to a hospital.

“We offer our prayers and thoughts to the family and friends of the deceased. Their sadness is our sadness. Our own family and friends are precious to us, and so I call on each one of us to protect one another and stop the spread of COVID-19," Unified Government Mayor/CEO David Alvey said.

The man was admitted to a hospital on March 16 and tested positive for COVID-19 on March 18. He was discharged from the hospital on March 20 and later admitted to the second hospital on March 22.

-----

Update Tuesday night, March 24, 2020

A second COVID-19-related death in Wyandotte County and the third such death for the state of Kansas comes as Sedgwick County follows suit of counties in the Kansas City area, preparing for a stay-at-home order, set to start at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday (March 25).

In all, there are 98 cases in Kansas. As of Tuesday, Sedgwick County accounts for seven of these cases. Statewide, patients range in age from 7 to 90 years old.

-----

There are now seven cases of coronavirus in Sedgwick County, according to the latest numbers released by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Tuesday.

Ninety-eight cases of the disease have been reported statewide in 18 counties. To date, two deaths have been reported - in Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

New information from the state health department also details that children are testing positive for the virus. According to KDHE, patients range in age from 7 to 90 years old, with a median age of 52.

KDHE also breaks down the cases by gender: male (57) and female (41).