Shelter-in-place orders are about to take effect for about a third of Kansas' population to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and more could soon follow.
Douglas County, which includes the college town of Lawrence, announced Sunday that its order will take effect Tuesday. The announcement came after a man in his 50s who had recently been on a cruise tested positive, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the county to four.
The order will match soon-to-take-effect orders that were issued in neighboring Kansas City-area counties, including Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties. People will still be allowed to leave their homes for essential needs, such as health care and grocery store visits.
In Sedgwick County, government staffers were drafting an order for people in the state's largest city, Wichita, to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, even though the county's top public health official says it is not necessary now, The Wichita Eagle reported.
"It's not that I don't think we won't have to get more restrictive, we probably will," physician Garold Minns told reporters after a meeting Sunday during which commissioners sat at least 6 feet apart. "But we got a little time to get more information and see how we can do this in the best way that's the least painful to our county."
Sixty-four cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, had been confirmed in Kansas as of Sunday. They include two deaths. One was announced in Johnson County on Saturday. The state's first death from the virus, a nursing home resident in Wyandotte County, was reported March 12. Johnson and Wyandotte counties account for 42 of the state's cases.
Among those with the virus is someone who works at the Leavenworth VA Medical Center, officials said Monday. The VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System called the risk of transmission to other patients and staff low.
To help, Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, announced Sunday that resident would be able to get medicine without an in-person visit to the doctor. She said in a statement that that order and another to ease motor carrier rules "will make sure Kansas families can access needed care and supplies until we have weathered this storm."
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Also Sunday, the Kansas Department of Revenue announced that all 116 driver's license office locations would be closed through April 6, although some services would be available online.
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