Johnson County reports first death from coronavirus infection

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has changed its COVID-19 reporting from daily to Monday through Friday, the Kansas City Star reports. File photo.

Note: The Shawnee Mission Post is making local coverage of the coronavirus pandemic accessible to non-subscribers. (If you value having a news source covering the situation in our community, we hope you’ll consider subscribing here).

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment on Saturday said the county had sustained its first death from coronavirus infection.

The victim was a man in his 70s who had underlying health conditions, according to the county. He had no history of recent travel. He was hospitalized prior to his death.

“This is a tragic loss of life and we share our heartfelt condolences with the family,” said Sanmi Areola, MD, director of JCDHE. “While the vast majority of cases of COVID-19 are believed to be mild, the virus can cause a very serious infection that can lead to death, especially in people over age 60 and those with underlying medical conditions.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the county said it has 26 positive cases of COVID-19. The deceased is included in that figure.

County health officials continue to urge residents to take steps to limit their potential exposure to the virus, and to help prevent its spread among vulnerable populations. The county has ordered bars, restaurants, taverns, clubs and movie theaters closed to sit-down service. Additionally, it has limited the number of people who can gather together in public at 10, including for weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies or meetings.

Last week, county officials also ordered mandatory 14-day self quarantine for people who have recently traveled to COVID-19 hotspots, including a number of popular spring break destinations.

“I know this news is alarming, but we are doing everything possible to make sure the public is safe. I urge businesses and families to take health precautions and practice physical distancing. Work from home, if possible, wash your hands and disinfect surfaces frequently, and stay home when you are sick,” said Areola.