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Pandemic 'not over,' metro health officials stress

The Examiner staff
The Examiner

Kansas City area health officials this week reminded residents that the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the people need to take precautions.

“Unfortunately, it’s not over! The Kansas City metropolitan region has seen a substantial increase in positive cases over the last couple of weeks,” Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, is quoted as saying in a news release posted Thursday by the health departments of nine metro counties. “If you’re in a high-risk category, all of the KC Metro public health directors recommend for you to stay home when possible. If you need to go out, remember to maintain social distancing practices and always wear a mask. People who live with high-risk individuals should consider the same precautions.”

The health directors pointed out that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers those at high risk to include people 65 and older and people living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility,

Beyond that, high-risk individuals include those of any age who:

• Have chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.

• Have serious heart conditions.

• Are immunocompromised.

• Are severely obese (body mass index of 40 or higher).

• Have diabetes.

• Have chronic kidney disease and are undergoing dialysis.

• Have liver disease.

Public health experts also urge everyone – including those not considered at high-risk – to protect others and slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a cloth face mask, practicing social distancing, washing hands often, staying at home when sick, and frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces.

“People are feeling pandemic fatigue. It’s understandable that we want things to go back to the way they were before this illness hit our community,” Bridgette Shaffer, director of the Jackson County Health Department, is quoted as saying. “All of the important steps residents have already taken have helped. We need to continue to be diligent until there is a vaccine.”

As of late Friday, the KC Region COVID-109 Resource Hub list 239 deaths and 7,334 confirmed cases across nine counties. Those counties at Jackson, Cass, Platte, Clay and Ray in Missouri, and Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson and Miami in Kansas.

The virus is mostly spread through person-to-person interaction. People can limit exposure by leaving home only when necessary, such as for work, medical care, to purchase groceries or medication, or to spend time outdoors.

The website has more information about COVID-19 and other risks to the public.