Independence opens a new hotline for COVID-19 information

Tracking Coronavirus

Prepare yourselves, Kansas City.  Missouri’s stay at home order goes into effect at midnight Monday morning.  It becomes one of 42 states ordering residents to stay home as much as possible.

On Sunday, Kansas announced it has 747 cases of COVID-19 in the state and 22 total deaths (8 in Johnson County, and 6 were in Wyandotte County).  Missouri has more than triple that: 2,367 cases, but only 34 deaths. (Kansas City, Missouri has 175 cases as of April 5, with Jackson County reporting 139 cases and a total of 4 deaths.)  More cases are expected in the coming weeks.

The Surgeon General says this week will be like a ‘Pearl Harbor’ and ‘9/11 moment’ (((https://fox4kc.com/news/surgeon-general-says-this-week-will-be-like-a-pearl-harbor-and-9-11-moment/))) .  He also said this week will be the hardest and the saddest for the nation.

It’s a lot to take in.  Every single day, you are bombarded with information about COVID-19.
We get it.  So does the city of Independence.  It established a COVID-19 Hotline for Independence residents to call.  That number is (816) 325-7033.

Inside Fire Station 1, someone other than firefighters are working hard.  Every weekday, from 8 to 5, the Medical Reserve Team volunteers answer phone calls from concerned Independence citizens. 

It’s open Monday – Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, and the people answering the phone are trained medical professionals – some are retired nurses and doctors, others are medical technicians.

“It’s been going for a couple of days,” said Mayor Eileen Weir via Skype on Sunday, “and we’ve had some calls.”

The calls range: some wonder what businesses are open – or not.  Some want to about meals for children.  Others want to know to what stay at home means. 

But most, said Weir, “we’ve really had a number of people who need somebody to talk to. You know, they really need somebody who is calm and professional and reassuring and offering accurate information specifically to our city.”

That, explained Weir, is what differentiates this service from everything else out there.  “Sorting through what we hear that’s going on in New York, and Los Angeles, and New Orleans,” said Weir, “and then saying… ‘Well, what’s really going on right here in my own neighborhood?’  Having that resource to say ‘What are the things that are impacting me and my family and my personal life?’”

Weir explained why residents would call the city’s line, instead of any other line.  “They want to talk to a real person who is reliable, who can really spend some time answering their specific question.”

She added, “We’re trying to cover all the bases, but sometimes there’s no substitute than a 1-on-1 conversation from someone who can really listen and walk you through what your needs are.”

The city of Independence also built a website for its residents.  http://www.ci.independence.mo.us/fire/emergencyPreparedness/Coronavirus

Johnson County has also established a hotline for its residents.  That number is staffed by school nurses from across Johnson County.  Call 913-715-CV19 (2819) Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Johnson County built a website for citizens: https://www.jocogov.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update

Here the map of Missouri COVID-19 cases, provided by the Missouri Health Department.  https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/1fd32012487c4e5c936a13389f9731c3

The city of Kansas City, Missouri also has a website and text line for its residents.  https://www.kcmo.gov/city-hall/departments/health/coronavirus

Jackson County has a tracking database for its cases as well: https://jacohd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/5aa91e10f7684b10952c1326ecd91670

Here is a map with the latest COVID-19 cases in Wyandotte County.
https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/8781f01908d8403e9273d78e66e6219b

And here’s the website the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan. Residents: https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information

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