Local Increase in Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Cases

The Shawnee County Health Department (SCHD) is reporting the second-highest number of confirmed positive cases in a single week since the beginning of the pandemic in our community. As of Saturday, May 2, 2020, the SCHD had identified 24 new confirmed positive cases in Shawnee County during the period from April 26th to May 2nd. At least one individual was hospitalized. This is more than double the amount of confirmed positive cases from the previous week (10 cases).

Additionally, the number of confirmed cases with no association with a known source of infection is increasing, and the proportion of laboratory tests performed that are positive also is increasing. These ailments suggest an increase in community transmission of COVID-19 locally.

Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, Shawnee County Health Officer stated, “All this information assessed together points to an increasing level of circulation of the virus in our community. This is particularly worrisome at a time when our county is getting ready to re-start many activities that had been suspended for weeks. We will be monitoring the situation over the next few days and decide if additional restrictive mitigation measures are necessary.”

“Make no mistakes: this virus is still circulating in our community, perhaps even more now than in previous weeks”, said Linda Ochs, Director of the Shawnee County Health Department. “We have mobilized all available resources at the health department, and staff works long hours to identify and investigate each confirmed case and their contacts.”

As a reminder, human coronaviruses like the one that causes COVID-19 are most commonly spread through coughing and sneezing, personal contact like shaking hands, and touching a surface with the virus and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. There are simple steps everyone can take to help prevent spreading them:

·         Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

·         Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·         Stay home when you are sick and only leave home for essential items.

·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.