18 identified cases of COVID-19 reported in Douglas County, including more local transmission

photo by: Associated Press

A Lawrence Memorial Hospital nurse works at a drive-thru virus testing facility In Lawrence, Kan., Thursday, March 26, 2020. Tests are by appointment only. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Story updated at 3:53 p.m. Friday

Local health officials announced Friday that 18 Douglas County residents have now tested positive for COVID-19, including another who likely contracted the disease locally.

Of the 18 cases in the county, 14 involved people who traveled out of state or country and two involved people who likely contracted the disease locally, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said in a news release. The cause of transmission in two other cases had not been determined as of Friday afternoon.

The 18 cases identified in Douglas County have involved one person in their late teens, six people in their 20s, four people in their 30s, three people in their 40s, two people in their 50s, one person in their 60s and one person in their 70s, the health department said Friday afternoon.

Amid nationwide concerns about limited testing, the state had recorded 202 positive cases of the disease, with four deaths, as of Friday morning. Douglas County announced four cases Friday afternoon that were not included in the state’s earlier tally. The state’s secretary of health and environment, Dr. Lee Norman, said Friday that he expected the number of positive tests to approach 900 by mid to late April.

On Friday, the state also released its first cumulative tally of hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Of 135 cases where information was available, 27 hospitalizations have been reported to date. That number, which likely includes patients who have recovered and are no longer hospitalized, reflects only Kansas residents and does not include residents of other states who may be in Kansas hospitals.

Douglas County health officials have not released any other information about the patients, their occupations or any interactions they may have had in the community recently. Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health has previously said it is identifying, notifying and monitoring close contacts of those who have tested positive.

More coverage: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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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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