Health officials urge caution, increased testing as Wyandotte County delays reopening

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Friday marked a new record for COVID-19, with the Kansas City metro recording 200 new cases. That’s the highest number in a single day since the outbreak began.

Wyandotte County is concerned enough about the spike that it will not move ahead with the next part of its reopening plan until at least July 6.

In the meantime, there are things we can all do to help a full reopening become possible.

Tanner’s Bar & Grill in KCK is glad to have some of its loyal customers dining in these days. But since reopening right before Memorial Day, lunch and dinner crowds just aren’t quite the same as pre-pandemic.

“I think we went downhill for a bit but now that we’ve reopened I think people are excited to get back out in one of the environments that’s taken sanitary measures,” said Tina Caruso, assistant general manager at Tanner’s.

While there are no specific rules Wyandotte County businesses have to follow, the health department has asked businesses to encourage social distancing and for everyone to wear masks. With Phase 3 now extended, big groups of 45 or more are still off limits.

Those are all things Tanner’s is complying with and that health officials say are critical with coronavirus cases now climbing.

“It’s very scary. We have a huge population of people that come from the hospital or have loved ones in the hospital and so we have to be really careful,” Caruso said.

Thankfully so far, the uptick in local COVID-19 cases hasn’t come with new hospitalizations or deaths. But precautions are still necessary.

“It’s also just about having as few people get sick as possible, because even if someone doesn’t end up hospitalized, we don’t want more of our community members becoming ill,” said Janell Friesen with the Wyandotte County Health Department.

While Wyandotte County’s testing capacity is much better now than when the outbreak began in March, the Unified Government wants even more people to get tested, especially at its weekly pop-up testing sites.

“Anyone who is sick, even if there are mild symptoms, we really want to encourage them to get tested for their own sake and for the people around them, as well as for tracking COVID-19 in our community and preventing that broader spread,” Friesen said.

In KCK, you can get a COVID test at the health department on weekdays from 1-5 p.m., by driving through or walking up to the test site. Three pop up sites are also available next week, click here for more details.

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