County Update: Commissioner Becky Fast on ‘getting through unprecedented times’

Each week we provide a member of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners the opportunity to share an update on what issues are catching their attention. (Every member of the board is offered the same opportunity). This week, we have a column from District 1 Commissioner Becky Fast, whose district covers northeast Johnson County.

During these uncertain times, it’s very important to keep connections alive with your local, state, and federal elected officials to inform them what you are feeling, observing, and thinking. As community spread of COVID-19 continues throughout our region, Johnson County is taking aggressive action to flatten the curve and protect the health and livelihood of our residents.

The County is working closely with regional hospital CEOs, state, and federal health officials, and emergency response officials across the metro area (Jackson County, KCMO, Wyandotte County/KCK). We are working together to mitigate the spread to preserve the capacity of our hospitals for those who need medical care.

We are asking our entire community to unite to prevent the spread of this virus. I share your anxiety and fear about the ongoing health and safety of our county. As always – it’s your county government – but it is only effective if you are involved and engaged. Now – in these extraordinary times– it is even more important for elected officials to hear from you.

One of the first efforts that I championed as a new Commissioner was live streaming our County Commission meetings on Facebook and regular updates on BOCC business through e-newsletters. You can now access video of recent Commission meetings via the county’s Facebook page. You can also get daily updates from Johnson County Government on new developments in the coronavirus outbreak on the County’s new webpage that has been created.

We can’t trust our public institutions unless we know what they’re doing on our behalf. Timely and accurate information about government is crucial to maintaining trust during a crisis. Johnson County is updating its website and social media on a continual basis.

We understand that you will have a lot of questions and an informed county builds strong and resilient communities.

  • The County has established a hotline to address health related questions. This hotline is staffed by nurses. You can remain anonymous at 913-715-CV19 (2819).
  • General questions can be directed to our 913-715-5000 call center.
  • Spanish translators are also available at both call centers.
  • Questions can be emailed to jocogov.org/contact-us

You are also welcome to contact the Board of County Commissioners here to let us know your concerns.

Right now – you are not alone – if you have frantic feelings and anxiety it is normal. It would be unnatural if you didn’t have a flood of emotions. The social and emotional impact as well as the economic consequences can feel overwhelming. If you or your loved one needs support, please let them know about our Johnson County Mental Health Center which has a 24/7 crisis line at 913-268-0156. We all need each other, and connection is so important to deal with this crisis.

We are all in this together. America is America because we have overcome adversity and challenges. Johnson County has overcome many challenges since its creation in 1855. Throughout our history, we did not cower from adversity, and we did not hide, as that is not the spirit of Johnson County.

The Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant was in fact built in southwest Johnson County during World War II. This is the challenge for this generation. We will in the end be better as a community.

Johnson County Government together with our local cities, first responders, and medical community has such talent and expertise that I have witnessed and been in awe of that is leading us forward. We will overcome it and Johnson County will be greater for it.

Thank you for the honor to represent you as your District 1 Commissioner during this difficult time. We must together – stay strong, stay safe, and stay home.