photo by: The Denver Post via AP
Story updated at 10: 49 a.m. Saturday
Two more Douglas County residents — both having recently traveled outside the state — have tested positive for COVID-19, the local health department announced Saturday morning, bringing the county’s total identified cases to three.
The new cases involve a woman in her 30s who recently traveled to the West Coast, and a man in his 30s who recently traveled to England, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said in a news release. The patients are in isolation, and the health department said it is working to identify and notify close contacts of those patients. No additional information about the patients or their conditions was released Saturday morning.
The health department said the new cases were 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.
Douglas County’s other confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced Tuesday in a man in his 20s who had recently returned from Florida. That man was tested at a drive-through clinic in Shawnee County, the health department previously said, and he was in isolation but had not been hospitalized as of Tuesday.
As of the state’s latest update Friday morning, the number of positive COVID-19 tests in Kansas had reached at least 44, including one death.
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.
As the pandemic continues, the Journal-World will be making coverage of COVID-19 available outside of the paywall on LJWorld.com.
Find all coverage of city, county and state responses to the virus at: ljworld.com/coronavirus/
Please consider subscribing to support the local journalists who are helping to inform our community: ljworld.com/subscribe/
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 [email protected] 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.