Kansas confirms 1st coronavirus case, Kansas City-area woman
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas City-area woman who recently traveled to the Northeast is the first case of coronavirus in Kansas, officials confirmed Saturday.
Gov. Laura Kelly and health officials said the woman, who’s under 50, is isolating herself at home after seeing her doctor over the common symptoms of the new coronavirus, including a cough, slight fever and shortness of breath. She lives in Johnson County, the state’s most populous county.
“The patient’s doing well, by the way,” said Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Mary Beverly, the interim director of Johnson County’s health department, said the woman reported feeling ill Sunday, started wearing a mask and was tested Monday or Tuesday. Beverly said the woman’s family members are likely to be the only people at risk of being infected by the new virus that causes COVID-19.
Health officials declined to provide more information about the woman or her travels, saying they want to protect her privacy.
“This individual everything right,” Beverly told reporters. “They used a mask and then self-isolated. They notified their physician before going into the doctor’s office so that others would not be infected.”
Beverly said health officials don’t know whether the woman came directly into contact with someone with coronavirus but “she traveled to a region of the United States where we knew we had some positive cases.”
The Kansas announcement came as Florida reported two coronavirus deaths, the first outside the West Coast. The total U.S. death toll reached 19.
The number of U.S. coronavirus cases swelled to 400, with cases in about half of the states. Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Pennsylvania also recently reported their first cases.
The confirmation of the first Kansas case came four days after the state’s health department launched an online resource center on coronavirus and three days after Kelly and the department’s top administrator said the state was prepared for an outbreak.
Norman had said the state was monitoring up to a dozen people a day as possible coronavirus cases.
He said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing the state with a list of people who’ve traveled to China, where the new virus originated, or South Korea, which also has seen an outbreak. He added that about 80 people are on the list, with some dropping off as they pass the 14-day contagious period and others being added.
Health officials had said Kansas was at lower risk of a coronavirus outbreak than other states because of its lower population density. Johnson County is home to sprawling Kansas City suburbs, but Beverly said its health department does not believe that public events must be canceled or schools, closed.
“No one should panic over this new virus or this confirmed case. Kansas still is considered at low risk for the spread of the virus,” Kelly said.
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