KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Wednesday at 7 a.m., Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas held a press conference to discuss prevention plans for COVID-19.
Across the U.S., more than 1,000 people are infected. The highest numbers are in New York, Washington state and California.
In Missouri, 46 people have been tested for COVID-19, only one tested positive and that was near the St. Louis area.
That’s according to the Department of Health and Senior Services.
There’s been one confirmed case in Johnson County, Kansas, but none so far in Kansas City, Missouri, or Kansas City, Kansas.
Lucas teamed up with Health Director, Dr. Rex Archer and EMS Medical Director, Dr. Erica Carney to give the update.
“We have been fortunate thus far in Kansas City to not have more cases,” Lucas said.
The officials all said they are working to contain the virus as long as possible so that Kansas City is prepared to handle it once there are local cases.
The major recommendation both Lucas and Dr. Archer made was for anyone who is over 60, has preexisting conditions or lives with someone who falls into those categories to avoid St. Patrick’s Day festivities and all other large group events.
The holiday parade and other events have not been canceled at this time.
“These are not mandatory events for the general public,” Archer reminded residents.
The other main recommendation made was to avoid visiting nursing homes in order to protect the vulnerable adults living there.
“I’ve heard somewhat troubling narratives in the community,” Lucas said.
He went on to address young people who believe they are clear from the virus because they are healthy, but said that those people should still be concerned about the health of others they could be spreading the virus to.
Kansas City officials are working with public health officials and emergency departments around the world to set out the proper recommendations.
“Everything we say at this press conference could change by this evening,” Archer said.
Dr. Carney said that now is the time for EMS and fire departments to practice with protective equipment in order to best protect both personnel and patients.
She recommended that anyone experiencing symptoms do not call emergency services, but instead call their primary care physician or the health department to receive guidance.
Anyone experiencing symptoms should not walk into a hospital.
Tests for COVID-19 are currently limited, according to Dr. Archer.
Right now, only those with connections to places with outbreaks of the virus, those who have been in contact with someone who contracted the virus and those who are showing serious symptoms and have had everything else ruled out are being tested.
“Narrowing down the diagnosis doesn’t change the treatment outcomes,” Archer reminded.
There is no treatment for COVID-19 at this time. Doctors are simply working to treat the symptoms, just like with the typical influenza.
“Once we can get enough tests to be run, then we can start changing those recommendations,” Archer said.
He did go on to say that there might be two strains of the virus going around currently.
One strain seems to have more potent symptoms, and one is more transmissible.
In a statement before the conference, Lucas said:
“We are aware of and monitoring developments in St. Louis and in Johnson County, Kansas. While we do not yet have confirmed cases in Kansas City, we know we may have them in the future. Our Health Department is leading our preparation and is working closely with several other city health departments across the nation. Additionally, cities and counties across our state are working together to share information and we will keep working with our regional partners to keep the public safe.”
The latest news reminds all of us to continue with prevention techniques. Remember to wash your hands, cover coughs, stay home if you are sick, and greet friends without shaking hands.”
Missouri has created a hotline for information about novel coronavirus. Please call 877-435-8411 with any questions.
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