4th Douglas County patient tests positive for COVID-19 after recent travel

photo by: Associated Press

In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York's Long Island. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

One more Douglas County resident, who recently traveled on an international cruise ship, has tested positive for COVID-19, the local health department announced Sunday afternoon, bringing the county’s total identified cases to four.

All four cases identified in the county so far have involved travel out of state or internationally.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health announced the latest case, discovered in a man in his 50s, in a news release. The health department said the man has been in isolation since returning to the county, and health officials have identified and are monitoring one close contact.

Douglas County’s other confirmed cases of COVID-19 were announced Tuesday — a man in his 20s who had recently returned from Florida — and Saturday — a woman in her 30s who recently traveled to the West Coast, and a man in his 30s who recently traveled to England.

As of the state’s latest update Sunday morning, the number of positive COVID-19 tests in Kansas had reached at least 64, including two deaths.

The health department said the newest case was identified by testing sent to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. On Friday, state health officials warned that they were “precariously low” on coronavirus testing kits and could be forced to rely on private labs, potentially delaying additional results.

Nationwide, health officials have warned that the number of actual cases in communities is likely far greater than the confirmed cases, because of a severe lack of widespread testing. Shortages of testing kits and other supplies have led to tests being reserved for those with serious symptoms that require hospitalization, as well as people who meet very specific criteria for symptoms and recent travel to places where tests have confirmed the spread of the virus.

Kansas officials have mandated 14-day home quarantines for anyone who has recently traveled from outside the U.S. or to California, Florida, New York or Washington state, as well as anyone who recently traveled to Eagle, Gunnison, Pitkin and Summit counties in Colorado.

Lawrence-Douglas County health officials have prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people and have ordered the closure of bars and restaurants to dine-in services. Many public facilities around Lawrence have been closed into May, and local schools and universities will be finishing their spring semesters using remote education methods.

More coverage: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Find all coverage of city, county and state responses to the virus at: ljworld.com/coronavirus/

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What to do if you think you may have COVID-19

Patients who have symptoms — difficulty breathing, cough and fever — should stay home, immediately isolate themselves from others and call their health care providers. Patients should never show up unannounced at a medical office or hospital. Instead, they should call ahead to explain their symptoms and give health care workers the ability to minimize the risk to others.

If patients do not have health care providers, they may call the Lawrence Douglas-County health department’s coronavirus line, 785-856-4343.

For updated information on the outbreak, Kansas residents can email COVID-19@ks.gov or call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF), which is staffed 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

More information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website or the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health website.


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