OLATHE, Kan. — For weeks, the nation’s braced for the COVID-19 coronavirus. This weekend it hit the metro. The first presumed positive case was announced on Saturday. It will be sent to the CDC for confirmation, but the county is already putting plans into action.
“No, this was not a surprise to us,” said Mary Beverly, Johnson County’s interim director of Public Health and the Environment, “and yes, we were ready for it.”
Officials, however, would not say much about the patient.
“We do not disclose that information,” Beverly said. “There’s a very good reason for that. To protect the patient. As you know, if you contracted this disease yourself, you would want to remain anonymous, just for a lot of reasons.”
Johnson County health officials say the woman traveled back to Kansas from the Northeast recently and brought the virus with her. But she also took all the necessary precautions: wearing a mask on the plane, calling her doctor’s office before coming in, and getting tested.
She is now quarantined inside her home, again, following all the suggested steps. Health officials say they’ve been reaching out to any people who may have come in contact with this Johnson County patient and continue to monitor this woman closely.
Though she is the first patient in the metro, officials say she won’t be the last; unless you take their advice.
“Use precautions,” said Nancy Tausz, Johnson County Health Services Division Director. “Again, wash your hands. Stay home if you’re sick. That means yourself from work, your children from daycare, avoid anyone else that you know is sick.”
But also realize that there is no reason to panic.
“The risk is still low in Johnson County,” said County
Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson. “We’re having this
conference not because the risk has increased. It’s to inform so that
misinformation doesn’t get out there.”
And the biggest piece of information they want the public to know is the most obvious.
“Disinfect frequently,” Tausz said. “If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t infect, don’t get out there and transmit that. Look at the flu and how we tell people to stay home. Childcare, school, work, everything. And stay away from people who are sick.”