First case of COVID-19 reported in Douglas County

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health is reporting the first case of coronavirus COVID-19 in Douglas County.

Officials said Tuesday that testing was sent to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Laboratories which identified the case as positive.

The case involves a man in his 20s who recently traveled from Florida. The health department is working to identify any close contacts of the individual, and those who were exposed will be contacted as soon as possible and monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

The KDHE has recent recommended guidelines for quarantine and isolation of travelers who visited places in the United States where the disease is present in large numbers.

“Given the number of cases elsewhere in Kansas and in the United States, we have been working diligently with our local partners to prepare for a positive case here,” said Director Dan Partridge. “This confirms what we’ve thought for days now — that coronavirus is in our community, and we need to continue to take appropriate action.”

There have been 17 cases of COVID-19 now reported in Kansas. Earlier Tuesday, Johnson County announced two new cases, bringing the total number in the county up to 10. Other cases include one case in Butler County and one case in Franklin County. Out of the 397 people who have been tested, less than 4% have come back positive. Three cases have been reported in Wyandotte County including one death of a man in his 70s, who had underlying health issues. He was admitted to the hospital for cardiac problems, but was later tested and found to have COVID-19.

On Friday, the health department ordered closures in effect until March 30 of all K-12 schools in Douglas County, recreational facilities and public libraries in an effort to stem the outbreak.

Douglas County Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino, also on Tuesday, has prohibited public gatherings in the county of more than 50 people for eight weeks to help stem the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

Marcellino has also strongly recommended:

  • People avoid non-essential trips and stay home to the extent they can.
  • Restaurants close in-house dining and limit service to carry out or delivery.
  • Daycare centers close while schools are closed.
  • Retirement communities and long-term care centers limit visitors.
  • People avoid large gatherings including sports practices, games and tournaments and unnecessary social gatherings.
  • If you do need to go out in public, work to ensure you maintain six feet from other people.

For general information, call the KDHE phone bank at 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

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