COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

Coronavirus Response Hub - See information, maps & resources about the response in our area

Have a question about a public health order? Email phorders@ldchealth.org.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, LMH Health, Douglas County and the City of Lawrence have activated what is known as a Unified Command under the National Incident Management System. We are all working closely with the cities of Eudora, Baldwin City and Lecompton in addition to schools and universities, law enforcement agencies, first responders, human service providers and others to protect the health and well-being of all Douglas County residents.

The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020. 

**The KDHE has issued mandates for quarantine and isolation of travelers, close contacts and those being tested, and provided updates on testing prioritization.**

Douglas County Cases (3 p.m., March 30): 22 positive cases

This is an ongoing situation and information is changing rapidly. For update information on the outbreak, visit 2019 Novel Coronavirus Update Information, or you can email COVID-19@ks.gov or call 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF), which is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with non-English capability. If you have a coronavirus question 24/7, call Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health’s Coronavirus line, 785-856-4343 or the LMH Health Coronavirus Line, 785-505-2819.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on March 12, issued an emergency declaration in the state in response to COVID-19. Douglas County’s first positive case was confirmed on March 17. See the regular KDHE COVID-19 update for more.

“What to Do if You Suspect Coronavirus” 

  • Patients without symptoms who have traveled to a country with a CDC travel advisory or anywhere else in the United States with community spread of COVID-19 in the last 14 days should self quarantine themselves for 14 days.
  • Patients that are symptomatic (fever and lower respiratory symptoms) and have recent travel to a country with a CDC travel advisory or anywhere else in the United States with community spread of COVID-19 should make every effort to call your healthcare provider. Do not visit a clinic without notifying the clinic first to ensure proper protocols are followed to contain the potential spread of disease. Avoid areas that would include a large gathering of people.
  • If it’s urgent:
    • Make every effort to coordinate over the phone with a physician/doctor’s office first.
    • If you have a physician, try to get their after-hours line or go to urgent care. ALWAYS CALL FIRST before showing up.
    • If a patient is inquiring about COVID-19 but is not ill enough to seek healthcare, the KDHE is recommending they stay home until all symptoms have resolved.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health continues to work with our community and public health partners to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19, the 2019 novel coronavirus, said Linda Craig, Director of Clinic Services. As CDC officials have noted, the public health response is multi-layered, with the goal of detecting and minimizing introductions of this virus in the United States so as to reduce the spread and the impact of this virus.

It is important to be vigilant in following the situation because the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States. However, it is also important to note individual risk is dependent on exposure. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low, but it is a developing situation.

If you or your family members recently returned from from a destination internationally or in the United States that is experiencing community spread of COVID-19 and you are experiencing symptoms of fever and congestion, see your health care provider. Prior to your arrival, it’s important to notify your physician or local emergency department of your recent travel history.

Other than avoiding nonessential international travel, we also encourage people to take steps to avoid contracting respiratory viruses including: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • 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.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow to avoid spread of droplets.

People should exercise vigilance when attending large public gatherings, particularly those people over age 60 and those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions. There are mass events guidance documents from the Centers from Disease Control available on KDHE’s website, www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus. Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health did cancel the Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade and issued direction to long-term nursing and skilled-care facilities in the county to close public access and admit only essential visitors to protect residents.

On March 13, we also ordered closures through March 29 of all K-12 schools, recreational facilities and public libraries in an effort to stem the outbreak of COVID-19.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health is also strongly recommending: 

•    Daycare centers to close during those weeks.

•    Retirement communities and long-term care centers limit visitors.

•    People avoid large gatherings including sports practices, games and tournaments and unnecessary social gatherings.

•    When in the community, please maintain the CDC’s social distancing standards, including maintain six feet from others.

This is an ongoing situation and information is changing rapidly. For update information on the outbreak, visit 2019 Novel Coronavirus Update Information, or you can email COVID-19@ks.gov or call 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF), which is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with non-English capability.

Public health officials also encourage anyone has has visited a country or area in the United States with widespread community transmission — to remain at home and avoid large gatherings for 14 days after returning to the United States.

As of noon, March 13, the CDC has identified 4,226 reported cases of COVID-19 that have been detected in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands.

  • 245 of these cases occurred through person-to-person spread. 
  • 229 cases occurred in persons who had traveled to international areas with sustained (ongoing) transmission. 
  • 3,752 cases are still being investigated to determine the source of exposure.