Health department announces 2 deaths related to COVID-19; cases in Douglas County increase to 542
photo by: Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health
Two people in Douglas County have died from COVID-19 or with the virus as a contributing factor in their deaths, the health department announced Wednesday afternoon.
A male resident in his 70s died earlier this month, and a male resident in his 80s died this week. Both patients had been hospitalized. Infectious disease doctors and an epidemiologist from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment originally deemed the death of the first man to be unrelated to COVID-19, but further review by KDHE on Wednesday classified it as a COVID-19 death, the health department stated in a news release.
KDHE classifies a COVID-19 death as a person with a death certificate that lists COVID-19 as a cause of death or significant condition contributing to death.
LMH Health originally reported the death of a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, but stated that the death was not thought to be a direct result of the virus, the Journal-World has reported.
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health director Dan Partridge called the death a “tragic loss of life” and said “we share our heartfelt condolences with the families.”
“While the majority of cases of COVID-19 are believed to be mild, the virus can cause a very serious infection that can lead to death. This is why it is important for everyone to take precautions right now, including wearing masks, to help limit the spread of the coronavirus,” he said in the news release.
Douglas County’s health officer, Dr. Thomas Marcellino, asked that people remain diligent in protecting themselves and neighbors.
“Unfortunately, this is a reminder of the importance of taking precautions, especially practicing social distancing and wearing a mask when you leave your home and encounter others in public,” Marcellino said in the release.
Douglas County has reported 542 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, an increase of six cases since Tuesday.
In Douglas County, 407 out of the 542 cases are inactive or beyond the infectious period, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.
Two patients at Lawrence’s hospital had COVID-19 on Wednesday, one fewer than Tuesday.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s online map noted that 10,275 Douglas County residents had been tested for the disease so far. The county’s testing rate per 1,000 people was 84.