Doctors remind people to continue social distancing and health measures while in public

Monday morning’s COVID-19 report in Wyandotte County showed a cumulative total of 1,359 cases and 74 deaths. There was an increase of one death since Sunday. (UG COVID-19 webpage)

COVID-19 is still out there, and those who go out in public should wear masks and keep 6 feet away from others, according to doctors at the University of Kansas Health System.

They discussed recent events including weekend protests in Kansas City, Missouri, over the George Floyd death in Minnesota, as well as a social gathering at the Lake of the Ozarks. At a news conference, they discussed if the events were an increased risk of spreading COVID-19. They also heard from COVID-19 survivors.

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at the KU Health System, said, “It just feels so hauntingly familiar to hear ‘I can’t breathe’ from patients and from individuals suffering in the streets.”

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at KU Health System, said it appeared some of the marchers were close together, which presents a risk of getting COVID-19. He advised people to stay 6 to 10 feet apart and wear masks when in a group.

Anthony Nickens, an employee at KU Health System who has recovered from COVID-19, said that COVID-19 patients have felt restricted, that they couldn’t go everywhere they wanted to go and weren’t as free as they wanted to be. “African-Americans have been in that state for a long time,” he said.

Nickens encouraged people to be safe, to understand that people need to get their voices out, to wear a mask and to keep 6 feet of distance away from others.

Nickens described his family’s experiences in COVID-19, and his mother, Maxine Nickens, a COVID-19 survivor, also had advice.

“It’s real, it’s terrible,” she said. She has told co-workers to stay safe. She said the coronavirus is sneaky, and you don’t know where it is. People need to wash their hands and keep everything clean, she said.

“Know that it’s real and know that you’re not exempt from it, you’ve got to protect yourself,” she said.

Susan Robare’s husband, a correctional worker at the Lansing Correctional Facility, died after contracting COVID-19.

“I’ve thought about making a sign when I go out,” Robare said during the news conference. “You don’t know who you’re going to infect.

“My husband died from this,” she said. “It is serious. People think they’re immune to it, and they’re not. They may be asymptomatic, but you don’t know who you’re going to take it home to.

“So please take it seriously. Do what you can to protect yourself and your loved ones,” she said.

Dr. Hawkinson said people are most infectious one to two days prior to having any symptoms to a few days after they are better. People don’t always know when they are sick, he said.

“You could be spreading the disease or virus without you ever feeling sick, ever,” Dr. Hawkinson said, “or, one to two days prior to you getting symptoms.”

Dr. Hawkinson reported that KU Health System had 17 positive COVID-19 patients, with five in the intensive care unit and three on ventilators. He said they had some discharges and some new admissions, with numbers staying pretty stable. There were 15 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Friday.

In Wyandotte County, the Unified Government Health Department webpage reported 1,359 cumulative COVID-19 cases at midday Monday, June 1, with 74 deaths and 22 persons hospitalized. There were 465 recoveries reported. It was an increase of 12 cases and one death since Sunday.

On the UG COVID-19 hub, the outbreak map shows cases now have been reported at a total of 16 at the Amazon facility at 6925 Riverview Ave., with the last case reported on May 28.

The KU doctors’ news conference is at

The UG’s COVID-19 information page is at

Wyandotte County is currently under the state’s Phase 2 plan at

The state plan’s frequently asked questions page is at

Additional guidelines from the governor’s office about Phase 2 are at

Test sites are listed at

The CDC’s COVID-19 web page is at

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