Local agencies, including BPU, continue dealing with COVID-19 and its challenges

On Sunday, Aug. 9, the Unified Government COVID-19 webpage reported cumulative 4,864 positive COVID-19 cases, an increase of 32 from Saturday. There were no additional deaths; the cumulative number of deaths stayed at 99.
An electronic sign over State Avenue near The Legends Outlets and Kansas Speedway tells motorists, in Spanish and English, “Protect Yourself. Wear a Mask in Public.”

The Board of Public Utilities reported at its meeting on Wednesday night, Aug. 5, that it had six positive COVID-19 employees still in quarantine, with 17 total employees quarantined.

Eleven of the 17 are in self-quarantine because of possible direct exposures, whether at home or at work, according to Dennis Dumovich, with human resources at BPU. He gave a COVID-19 update at the BPU’s regular meeting, held on Zoom Aug. 5.

So far, the BPU has had 10 positive results for employees, with 98 total employees who have been quarantined for different reasons, including potential direct exposure at work or home, or people who have gone on vacation to hotspot areas, people who are caring for a family member who is ill, or people who have underlying health conditions not allowing them to come to work, according to Dumovich. They have recently seen a little spike in their results, he added.

He said the BPU has performed pretty well during this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been very lucky, and because of the precautions taken, there was not any positive spread in any of the departments.

BPU General Manager Bill Johnson said at the meeting they have been discussing making a few modifications for COVID-19. These include staggered shifts, rotations and other modifications, he added.

The BPU is fully compliant with the mask order, he said, with employees wearing masks while at work and also social distancing.

They also have been discussing the potential effect of schools starting a little later than normal, and its effect on the staff needing time off, he said. They will be trying to adjust around the start of local schools to accommodate employees, he added.

BPU officials met last Tuesday with Dr. Allen Greiner, chief medical officer of Wyandotte County. Johnson said they had a few questions about when people need to test.

There have been some rules that changed about testing from the national, state and local levels, he said. Johnson said the BPU is properly aligned with all the orders coming from the health department, and continues to be sensitive to the need to protect everyone, to stay in touch with the health department, to keep all protections in place and keep BPU employees safe.

Dumovich said, in answer to a question from board member Mary Gonzales, that formerly the BPU required employees who had a direct exposure to a positive patient to go into self-quarantine, get tested and if the test was negative, return to work.

As of July 23, the health department standard practice changed to if an employee has a direct exposure and tests negative, he will stay quarantined for 14 days after the date of that test. He said the health department does not want the person to get another test to return to work after the 14 days.

That’s because after 14 days the patient can no longer transmit COVID-19, according to health officials. Even though COVID-19 patients can’t transmit it, they may show up positive if they get tested again, he said. So the health department no longer recommends that the patient must have a negative test before returning to work, he said.

Dumovich added that the BPU may have to bring up that issue with employees’ physicians who are not used to treating COVID-19 patients, and the health department doctors have offered to write letters in those cases, stating that they don’t want the employees retested.

Extension office closes to public for two weeks because of COVID-19

The Wyandotte County Extension office has closed to the public for two weeks because one staff member was exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an announcement made on Monday, Aug. 3.

The staff now is working remotely until Monday, Aug. 17, according to the announcement, and the public may reach staff by phone and email, with contact information at www.wyandotte.ksu.edu, or the Extension office Facebook page, www.facebook.com/wycoksre.

The Extension office on North 79th was a polling place on Aug. 4.  The Wyandotte County election commissioner said this COVID-19 case had no effect at all on voters because the Wildcat Room at the Extension office, where voting is held, had not been used by anyone recently.

On Sunday, Aug. 9, the Unified Government COVID-19 webpage reported cumulative 4,864 positive COVID-19 cases, an increase of 32 from Saturday. There were no additional deaths; the cumulative number of deaths stayed at 99.

Free testing offered

Free COVID-19 testing is planned from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 10, at Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, 9301 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas.

The pop-up test is offered through Vibrant Health and the Health Equity Task Force.

Free testing also is offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Unified Government Health Department parking lot at 6th and Ann, Kansas City, Kansas. For more information, call 311.

For more information on who may be tested and what to bring, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19.

The Wyandotte County school start order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.

Wyandotte County is under a mandatory mask order and is in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. For more information, residents may visit the UG COVID-19 website at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information or call 311 for more information.

The CDC’s COVID-19 web page is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Many COVID-19 cases in Wyandotte County and in Kansas linked to outbreaks

Wyandotte County reported 55 new COVID-19 cases from Friday to Saturday, with a cumulative total of 4,864, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 website. There were no new deaths; the cumulative total is 99 in Wyandotte County. (From the UG COVID-19 webpage)
Several COVID-19 outbreaks in Wyandotte County are shown on a map on the UG’s COVID-19 webpage at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/. (From UG COVID-19 Hub webpage)
Overall, the 7-day rolling average of positive COVID-19 cases has been trending downward in Wyandotte County in recent weeks. (From UG COVID-19 website)

Kansas currently has 145 active outbreaks of COVID-19, according to information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Since cases have been recorded here, the state has had a total of 370 outbreaks accounting for 7,853 cases and 247 deaths, according to KDHE statistics.

Meat packing plants had the highest number of cases in Kansas, with 3,276 cases and 17 deaths. There are 9 active meat packing outbreaks currently in Kansas.

Also high on the list were long-term care facilities, with 1,377 cases and 196 deaths statewide, according to KDHE figures. This is the category that had the most deaths.

Sports outbreaks are now listed, with 9 clusters reported in the state, including 3 active now, accounting for 64 cases.

Day cares and schools have had 15 clusters in the state, including 5 active clusters, accounting for 63 cases, according to KDHE.

Gatherings have resulted in 59 clusters in the state, including 21 active, which accounted for 653 cases and 17 deaths, according to KDHE statistics.

Private business has 143 clusters in the state, including 47 active, that accounted for 1,080 cases and 7 deaths, according to KDHE.

Several Wyandotte County outbreaks reported

The Unified Government’s outbreak location map, located on the UG’s COVID-19 website, shows several locations for COVID-19 outbreaks in Wyandotte County. This map included places that had five or more cases.

The locations include workplaces, meat packing plants and long-term care facilities.

Outbreaks from June and earlier that are not active now were not included in this list. Outbreaks on the UG COVID-19 map here since July include:

• National Beef Packaging, 100 Osage Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, 53 cases, last known case reported July 21.

• Bonner Springs Nursing and Rehab, 520 E. Morse Ave., Bonner Springs, long-term care facility, 47 cases, 5 deaths, last known case reported July 18.

• Medicalodge of Kansas City, 6500 Greeley, Kansas City, Kansas, long-term care facility, 20 cases, last known case reported July 20.

• Tyson, 4612 Speaker Road, Kansas City, Kansas, 6 cases, last known case reported July 21.

• Ignite Medical Resorts, 3910 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas, long-term care facility, 17 cases, last known case reported July 23.

• Smithfield-Capstone Logistics, 2441 S. 98th St., Edwardsville, 15 cases, last known case reported July 16.

• Plastic Packaging Technologies, 750 S. 65th St., Kansas City ,Kansas, 5 cases, last known case reported July 15.

• Edwardsville Care and Rehab, 750 Blake St., Edwardsville, Kansas, long-term care facility, 5 cases, last known case reported July 6.

• Nebraska Furniture Mart, 1601 Village West Parkway, 6 cases, last known case reported July 16.

New COVID-19 case reported in Larned facility

Corrections, according to the state, had nine clusters, with six of them now active, that accounted for 1,054 cases and six deaths.

On Friday, the Kansas Department of Corrections announced that one staff member at the Larned, Kansas, Correctional Mental Health Facility has tested positive for COVID-19.

The person is a woman over age 40, according to the statement. The Larned facility has 598 beds.

Wyandotte County reported 55 new COVID-19 cases from Friday to Saturday, with a cumulative total of 4,864, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 website. There were no new deaths; the cumulative total is 99 in Wyandotte County.

Kansas reported an increase of 921 COVID-19 cases from Wednesday to Friday, according to figures from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. There were 12 more deaths from Wednesday to Friday. The total cumulative number of positive cases was 30,638 on Friday, and the total cumulative deaths were 380 in the state.

Johnson County reported 5,637 cases on Friday, as compared to 5,434 cases on Wednesday, an increase of 203 cases, according to KDHE statistics.

Leavenworth County reported 1,487 cases on Friday, compared to 1,472 on Wednesday, an increase of 15 cases, according to KDHE figures.

Wyandotte County is under a mandatory mask order and is in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. For more information, residents may visit the UG COVID-19 website at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information or call 311 for more information.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/.

The Wyandotte County school start order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.

For more information on who may be tested and what to bring, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19.

The CDC’s COVID-19 web page is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Masks can protect the wearer and the community, doctors say

In Wyandotte County, COVID-19 cumulative cases were 4,809 on Friday afternoon, an increase of 69 since Thursday, according to the UG COVID-19 webpage. There were a total cumulative 99 deaths, an increase of one death since Thursday. (From UG COVID-19 webpage)

Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System said Friday morning that wearing a mask is not telling you what to do or taking away your rights.

Rather, mask-wearing is a sign you’re trying to protect the community and yourself, according to Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer of KU Health System.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection control and prevention at KU Health System, said studies have shown that countries with mask mandates have safely opened society and their schools.

The doctors also stated, in answer to a question, that COVID-19 is not the flu. There are many more deaths with COVID-19 as there have been in the flu season, according to the doctors. (See https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu for more information about the number of deaths with COVID-19 as compared to the flu) Also, there is a flu vaccination and treatment for the flu, but none for this virus.

The KU doctors also answered many other questions during the program on Friday morning.

On Friday morning, KU Health System had 25 COVID-19 patients, the same as Thursday. Twelve were in the intensive care unit, up from 11 on Thursday, and eight were on ventilators, an increase from six on Thursday. There were more discharges than admissions, according to doctors. There are also a lot of newly diagnosed patients admitted daily, they said.

In Wyandotte County, COVID-19 cumulative cases were 4,809 on Friday afternoon, an increase of 69 since Thursday, according to the UG COVID-19 webpage. There were a total cumulative 99 deaths, an increase of one death since Thursday.


The KU doctors’ news conference is online at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/1032137773911398at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/672481063355122.


The Wyandotte County school start order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.

Wyandotte County is under a mandatory mask order and is in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. For more information, residents may visit the UG COVID-19 website at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information or call 311 for more information.

For more information on who may be tested and what to bring, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19.


The CDC’s COVID-19 web page is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.