Wyandotte County man is first COVID-19 death in Kansas

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has declared a state of emergency after the first confirmed COVID-19 death was reported in Kansas.

Kelly announced a Wyandotte County man in his 70s died from the virus. She said he did have underlying health issues.

KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said the man was living in a retirement facility. He said the other residents are being tested and monitored.

The governor said the state of emergency will allow more resources to be used to fight the virus.

This is the first known case of the virus being locally spread, meaning someone in Kansas was sick, entered the facility where the man was living and spread the virus.

Officials said the man was admitted to Providence Medical Center for cardiac problems on Tuesday, and he died Wednesday in a span of less than 24 hours. He wasn’t a previously known COVID-19 patient and was tested after he died Wednesday.

Watch the entire news conference in the video player below.

The Aging and Disability Services Secretary urges Kansans to not visit loved ones in senior care facilities right now. The elderly are the most at-risk to have severe outcomes due to coronavirus.

Earlier Thursday, KDHE reported three new coronavirus cases in Johnson County, Kansas, bringing the total cases in Kansas and in the metro to four.

No cases had been reported in Wyandotte County before Thursday evening.

Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas thanked Kelly for the emergency declaration and Norman for using all tools to limit this crisis to protect the region.

Providence Medical Center issued the following statement Thursday:

“Providence Medical Center is committed to protecting the safety of our hospital patients, healthcare providers and community and remains in close contact with the Wyandotte County Health Department, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure proper precautions are followed.

“A patient presented to the Hospital’s Emergency Department by ambulance from a nursing home. Our staff and physicians immediately provided lifesaving care to stabilize the patient’s condition, following all infection control protocols set forth by KDHE and CDC.

“Unfortunately, the patient died less than 24 hours after admission due to complications. It was decided to take samples post-mortem for COVID-19 due to observed dissent, low blood pressure and high fever.

“Our hospital has identified the staff who came into contact with the patient while providing care and is following all guidelines regarding healthcare work exposure. 

“We extend our deepest condolences to the patient’s family. At this time, our top priority remains protecting public health and ensuring the safety of our patients, visitors, staff, physicians, volunteers, and community.

“If you would like additional information, you may contact KDHE by calling 1-866-534-3463; visiting www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus; or emailing COVID-19@ks.gov.”

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