TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) Friday, March 13, 2020
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment released more details Friday on the state's first death related to COVID-19.
State Health Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said the man was bed-bound at the Life Care Center of Kansas City, Kan.
At this point, state officials are interviewing anyone who may have had contact with the man and reviewing records from the facility to determine how he got the virus.
The Life Care Center of Kansas City is the same group that owns the two nursing homes at the center of the coronavirus deaths in Washington state and that will be considered.
"It will focus a lot on if there has been any personnel sharing or any opportunity or if that just happens to be the fact that they're a large firm that has a lot of skilled nursing facilities throughout the united state," said Dr. Norman.
Multiple agencies are involved in the investigation.
While it could be considered a sign of local transmission of the disease, Dr. Norman said that could be ruled out if health officials can pinpoint the source.
To date, there are now six people in Kansas who have tested positive for coronavirus in Kansas: four Johnson County residents, a Wyandotte County resident (addressed above) and a Butler County resident being cared for at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.
Update: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - evening
Governor Laura Kelly announced Kansas' first coronavirus-related death Thursday afternoon.
The governor said the patient was a man in his 70s in a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County. The man had underlying health conditions. He was taken to the hospital on Tuesday with what was believed to be cardiac issued. He died Wednesday morning at Providence Hospital in Kansas City.
Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the testing that determined COVID-19 was done postmortem.
With the latest announcement, Gov. Kelly declared a state of emergency for Kansas to activate resources and mobilize personnel to assist where needed in the state.
"Work is being made to mitigate the spread of the virus, including quarantining all who were known to have been in contact with this individual," said Kelly.
She said investigators were working to determine any activities the man had in the 14 days (the known incubation period for symptoms) prior to his death and who had contact with him.
Norman said KHDE will apply the best guidelines for testing the other residents in the 80-bed facility (which is not full) and staff.
Norman emphasized that this is Kansas' first instance of community spread.
“We are working on identifying contacts right now,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, said. “We understand the concern and encourage Kansans to remain vigilant.”
The governor shared a similar message earlier saying the health and well-being of Kansans remain the state's highest priority.
"This is not a time to panic. Please to continue common sense: handwashing, coughing into your elbow, staying home when ill. This remains the best defense against COVID-19. At this time we're also suggesting practicing social distancing and avoiding large crowds," said Gov. Kelly.
Norman said the state has been conducting about 15 kits per day and he doesn't expect a shortage.
Earlier in the day, he announced three new presumptive positive cases in Johnson County, bringing the total number in the county to four. At that time, they were the only known cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Norman said the state encourages the testing of ill persons but not people who are well. He said while children appear to be low risk for the virus they can also be carriers.
Both Norman and the governor advised Kansas nursing homes to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of illness including limiting visitors.
If you have symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath and believe you may have had contact or have had contact with someone with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider.
You may also call the KDHE phone bank at 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF) today Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information about COVID-19, visit KDHE’s website and Frequently Asked Questions at www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/ and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Update: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - morning
Dr. Lee Norman, the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) says there are three new presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in Kansas.
The three new presumptive positive cases are reported in Johnson County bringing the total in Kansas to four.
Health officials say the new cases are three men between the ages of 35 and 65. All three attended a conference in Florida.
Officials say the three did not show symptoms until they returned home and were isolated once they started showing symptoms.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says there are still no signs of local transmission of the disease.
"We're kind of entering what I call the new normal as a state, and that is we've had no statewide local transmission. Everything, now four cases of coronavirus in Kansas have all imported from out of state, and there has been no spread of those cases to anybody else. And that's what the job of really great public health is all about is to do contact tracing to understand where the patients have been and who they've been in contact with and to make sure we do the detective work as a county as a lab as a state to understand this," said Norman.
Health officials stress if you have symptoms, call your health care provider to see if you need to be tested, and keep up with those precautions we keep telling you about: wash your hands, stay home if you're sick and take precautions around large public gatherings.
KDHE says it's working on additional guidance for schools and other agencies in dealing with coronavirus.
Health officials are holding a press conference Wednesday to discuss the current state of coronavirus in Kansas.
Currently, one person has tested positive for the virus in the state. She is a Johnson County resident and is being cared for at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.
As of 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 41 tests have come back negative.
The state has set up an online COVID-19 Resource Center for the public. There you can track the current number of cases and persons under investigations or PUIs.