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Independence won’t move ahead with reopening plan yet

Mike Genet

Due to the recent spike of COVID-19 cases locally, Independence Mayor Eileen Weir says the city won’t move ahead with Phase 2 reopening plans on July 1 as originally planned.

The Uptown Market will open for foot traffic with the Farmers Market on July 11, but playgrounds and splash pads and the National Frontier Trails Museum will remain closed past July 1, and other historic tourism sites – such as the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, Vaile Mansion – will remain closed through October.

The Sermon Community Center, Truman Memorial Building and George Owens Nature Center can reopen July 1 with 50 percent capacity and social distancing requirements. Some recreational activity classes will resume as social distancing at the Sermon Center and Truman Building.

Limited hours for the public remain at City Hall and Independence Utilities Center – 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Weir said Monday morning that reopening delays are from the area case increases and “lack of a sustained decrease of cases.”

Two residential health care facility outbreaks occurred in the past couple weeks in Independence, at Manor Care Center and The Groves. Those facilities have 58 and 37 cases, respectively. The Groves’ total has increased by just one in the last week-plus. Maple Street House, a rehabilitation residential building in Independence, has eight confirmed cases.

As of Monday morning, the Jackson County Health Department has recorded 968 cases of COVID-19 in Eastern Jackson County, up from 815 at the same time last week. The Health Department covers the county outside of Kansas City.

The Health Department reports that its positive COVID-19 cases have resulted in 27 deaths (up from 21 last week) and 112 current hospitalizations with 421 presumed recoveries (up from 369). Recovery cases are those who survived 30 days beyond the initial onset of COVID symptoms. More than 19,600 people have been tested, with a 4.94 percent positive rate. However, over the past two weeks, the percent positive rate is 6.08 percent.

The Health Department considers an outbreak concluded after two incubation periods (28 days) since the first date of the last confirmed case.

The highest zip code case totals in The Examiner coverage area, according to the Health Department:

• 64055 (southern Independence); 138 cases, or 406 per 100,000 residents

• 64050 (northern Independence and Sugar Creek); 81 cases, or 363 per 100,000 residents

• 64052 (southwest Independence); 74 cases, or 368 per 100,000 residents

• 64075 (central eastern-most area of Jackson County, including Oak Grove); 41 cases, or 326 per 100,000 residents

• 64081 (southern and western Lee’s Summit); 66 cases, or 272 per 100,000 residents

• 64014 (Blue Springs); 57 cases, or 229 per 100,000 residents

The Manor and Groves outbreaks account for the high totals in 64055 and 64050.

Besides the facilities in Independence, the Health Department notes four other facility outbreaks of double-digit cases: 54 cases at the Lee’s Summit Pointe Health and Rehabilitation; 22 at The Parkway Senior Living in Blue Springs; 19 at Oak Grove Nursing & Rehab; and 10 at John Knox Village in Lee’s Summit. None of the first three totals rose from last week.

In Kansas City, the health department has confirmed 1,730 cases through Friday, including 30 deaths and 128 required hospitalizations.

A database maintained by the Mid-America Regional Council shows 7,477 confirmed cases and 243 deaths among the nine-county metro area through Sunday afternoon, with more than 107,200 people tested.

Local COVID-19 testing

During the week of June 22, COVID-19 testing is being offered in Jackson County through the Jackson County Health Department and through the Truman Medical Centers.

The Jackson County Health Department is providing testing for persons who are asymptomatic as well as for those who do have symptoms. All testing provided by the Jackson County Health Department is free for residents of Jackson County, but please call 816-513-6008 to register before going to the testing site. The Jackson County Health Department testing sites for the week of June 22 are:

Monday, June 22, Corinthian Baptist Church, 6841 Sni-A-Bar Road, Kansas City.

Tuesday, June 23, Concord Fortress of Hope, 11050 W. Longview Pkwy, Kansas City.

Tuesday, June 23, Sugar Creek Elementary School, 11424 Gill St., Sugar Creek.

Wednesday, June 24, KC Library Southeast Branch, 6242 Swope Pkwy, Kansas City.

Thursday, June 25, Holy Cross Catholic School, 121 N. Quincy Ave., Kansas City.

Both Truman Medical Center Hospitals (at Hospital Hill and in Lee’s Summit) will provide testing, but only for persons who are experiencing at least one COVID-19 symptom. For any person’s first COVID-19 test, there will be no charge. Please call 816-404-CARE (2273) before arriving at the testing location. The Truman Medical Center testing sites for the week of June 22 are:

Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill, 2301 Holmes, Kansas City

Truman Medical Center Lakewood, 7900 Lee’s Summit Road, Kansas City.

• Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m..

• Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.