A group of four local governments Friday issued a letter urging residents to take safely precautions seriously to prevent additional spreading of COVID-19.
The Core 4 – Wyandotte County, Jackson County, Johnson County and Kansas City, Missouri – said that the increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the metro area is serious and affects the health of residents, putting a strain on front-line workers and the health system.
Mask-wearing mandates are extremely important to help reduce COVID-19 numbers, according to a spokesman for the Core 4 group. Recent data from Goldman Sachs show mask mandates can slow the rate of new COVID-19 infections and are better for the economy than more restrictive steps like lockdown measures, according to the group.
It will be important to limit interactions in settings like bars, restaurants, and other places where people will have their masks off, according to the spokesman. Businesses are encouraged to use creative strategies such as serving patrons in different outdoor settings whenever possible.
The community needs everyone’s help now by wearing masks when in public, along with other measures such as social distancing and limiting interactions with those outside their own households, the Core 4 spokesman stated. This is the best chance at avoiding additional restrictions, according to the group.
The spokesman stated that health officials will continue to closely monitor the data and use that to make collaborative decisions on how to protect the community.
The state of Kansas reported 1,005 more cases on Friday morning, as compared to Wednesday morning, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment statistics. The cumulative total of cases was 25,109. There was an increase of 18 deaths since Wednesday.
Wyandotte County reported 3,974 total cumulative COVID-19 cases on Friday afternoon, an increase of 80 cases since Thursday afternoon, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 website. There were 91 total cumulative deaths on Friday, an increase of one since Thursday.
Johnson County reported the highest cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Friday with 4,381. There were 223 more cases than Wednesday.
The University of Kansas Health System reported 32 COVID-19 patients Friday, down one from 33 on Thursday and less than 36 earlier this week, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical direction of infection control and prevention at the KU Health System. There were five patients in the intensive care unit, a decrease from 17 on Thursday. Four patients were on ventilators, a decrease of two from Thursday. Four COVID-19 patients were discharged and eight new ones were admitted.
One young COVID-19 patient died, according to the doctors, the first since June 27.
The health system can care for 40 to 45 patients without putting a strain on the system, according to the doctors.
Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer for KU Health System, said COVID-19 can be contained by a simple mask. Dr. Hawkinson urged people to socially distance, wear a mask, wash hands and stay away from gatherings in order to flatten the curve before school starts.
Dr. Stites predicted there would be a high of about 40 patients at KU hospital.
He said Wyandotte County’s COVID-19 numbers had been decreasing a little, and Johnson County really needs to bend the curve a little more, as numbers there have been going up.
The value of social distancing and wearing a mask was demonstrated by the KU doctors, who went into a walk-in freezer to show how far the virus and breath can spread. Masks stopped the breath and particles from spreading. To see the video, visit https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/2378490412455079.
The KU Health System doctors’ news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/348227952852114.
COVID-19 data for the metro area is on the KC Region COVID-19 Resource Hub at http://marc-gis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/1c93961075454558b3bf0dfad014feae
For information on the amended Wyandotte County mask order, visit https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/Communicable%20Disease/COVID19/07142020MaskOrderAmendments.pdf and https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/Communicable%20Disease/COVID19/07142020LocalHealthOfficerOrderMaskAmendments.pdf.
The governor’s executive order on masks is at https://governor.kansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/20200702093130003.pdf.
The governor’s news release on the mask order is at https://governor.kansas.gov/governor-laura-kelly-signs-executive-order-mandating-masks-in-public-spaces/.
The Wyandotte County mask order is at https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/Communicable%20Disease/COVID19/06272020LocalHealthOfficerOrderRegardingMasks.pdf.
For information on how to make an easy no-sew mask, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/how-to-make-a-no-sew-cloth-mask/.
The state’s COVID-19 test page is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/280/COVID-19-Testing.
Residents may visit the UG COVID-19 website at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information or call 311 for more information.
Wyandotte County is currently under Phase 3. See covid.ks.gov.
The state plan’s frequently asked questions page is at https://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Reopening-FAQ_5.19.2020_Final.pdf.
The CDC’s COVID-19 web page is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.