JoCo health department reports ‘some spikes’ in COVID-19 cases after reopening

The health department Monday reported a cumulative total of 844 positive COVID-19 cases and 63 deaths among Johnson County residents. JCDHE Director Sanmi Areola said he expected to see a spike in cases after shelter-in-place restrictions were lifted. File photo.

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Johnson County is experiencing an expected spike in COVID-19 cases following phased reopening plans, said Sanmi Areola, PhD, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.

“But in terms of the trend, on the average, we’re still doing pretty well,” Areola said Monday.

JCDHE released a video statement from Areola yesterday along with an updated report on COVID-19 testing findings, which showed that as of June 1 Johnson County has:

  • 844 positive COVID-19 cases
  • 63 deaths
  • 18,161 negative tests
  • 507 positive cases that are presumed recovered

For context, there are approximately 600,000 Johnson County residents.

The report also noted these numbers are not indicative of the total number of residents with COVID-19, as it only demonstrates the positive cases reported to JCDHE.

Areola said JCDHE has broadened testing and is quickly identifying and isolating infected residents and conducting contact tracing to prevent widespread transmission.

“The primary message to residents remains to be very cautious,” he said. “The virus is here.”

Areola emphasized the importance of wearing a mask when possible, avoiding crowds and staying home if sick.

You can view the JCDHE COVID-19 dashboard, which is updated daily, here.

Updated reopening guidance plan for individuals, businesses

Restaurants have closed tables to adhere to distancing requirements, as pictured at Panera Bread, 8300 Mission in Prairie Village.

Johnson County also issued an updated reopening guidance plan with expectations for businesses, residents and employers through June 11, 2020.

The release says the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners and JCDHE “strongly recommend” that residents and businesses continue to follow the Ad Astra reopening plan recommendations.

“By not placing county orders ourselves, we are relying on Johnson County residents and businesses to demonstrate responsibility, without enforcement, and exercise caution and consideration,” the report said.

Expectations for individuals:

  • No mass gatherings with more than 45 individuals present
  • Use barrier masks
  • Continue 6-feet physical distancing
  • Follow travel guidelines

Expectations for businesses: 

  • All businesses can now open
  • Avoid groups of more than 45 in one location closer than 6-feet
  • Follow public health guidelines and KDHE cleaning practices
  • Restaurants maintain 6-feet physical distance between tables or use barriers
  • Religious institutions and activities are exempt, use physical distancing

Expectations for employers:

  • Can begin reducing telework
  • Avoid groups of more than 45 in one location closer than 6-feet
  • Maintain 6-feet between workstations
  • Follow KDHE guidelines for work travel to high risk areas
  • Sick employees should stay home and call health care provider

Expectations for educational facilities:

  • Higher education should remain closed for in-person learning and should limit events to 45 people
  • K-12 facilities should follow the Continuous Learning Plan
  • Childcare facilities should follow state and local regulations

You can view the full guidance plan here.