KCUR
Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Coronavirus Shatters Kansas And Missouri Support Systems For People At Risk For Domestic Violence

Counties throughout the metro have issued stay-at-home orders to protect residents from the spread of the novel coronavirus. But advocates worry that families vulnerable to the dangers of violence and abuse are at greater risk under the stressors of sheltering in place. Intensifying that risk is the loss of community touchpoints for intervention, such as worship services, routine wellness visits at doctors' offices and daily check-ins at school. "The fact that we are bracing for an increase...

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While top scientists from around the world point to data that says the drier rangeland climate found west of the 100th Meridian has shifted east in the last three decades, those living and farming in eastern South Dakota feel they are seeing the opposite: A wetter weather pattern.

As precipitation has increased, farmers with their boots on the ground, like Paul Hetland near Mt. Vernon, South Dakota, say they’re struggling to adapt and stay in business.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

After initially lagging behind many other parts of the country, the COVID-19 case numbers in Kansas and Missouri are now rising rapidly each day.

While this undoubtedly means more people are getting sick, it’s unclear exactly what the infection trends are in both states. That's due to inconsistent testing and lack of complete numbers.

The two states' total cases, as reported on Friday:

Jodi Fortino / KCUR 89.3

Although it was set to close its retail stores on Friday evening because of the coronavirus pandemic, Nebraska Furniture Mart’s sprawling distribution center in Kansas City, Kansas, will remain open for business.

The 650,000-square-foot warehouse fulfills online and telephone orders and employs approximately 400 people who work in three shifts, with 100 to 150 working at any given time.

Black Sheep + Market / Facebook

Restaurants throughout the metro have been hit hard by the state of emergency in Kansas City. Many have closed, resulting in hundreds of laid off workers. And now, with food service limited to curbside and delivery, waitstaff is losing both hourly wages and tips. Meanwhile, restaurants themselves are facing an existential threat that increases every day the coronavirus epidemic continues. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Restaurants and bars have closed and gatherings larger than 10 people have been banned. The entire Kansas City metro is under orders to stay at home. Among many profound changes brought by the coronavirus: The interaction between musicians and their audiences at live shows.

"We're shutdown for the foreseeable future, at least two weeks. Could be a month, could be two months, who knows?" said Steve Tulipana, co-owner of RecordBar in downtown Kansas City. "So we're all just trying to figure out ways to keep doing what we do to keep sane, really."

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City has barred medical staff from wearing face masks continuously through shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic and has threatened disciplinary action if staff defy the order.

In an internal email sent March 19 and obtained by KCUR, hospital leaders cited guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say face masks should solely be used by people who show symptoms of the coronavirus.

Johnson County

Johnson County Commissioners wrestled with their new reality on Thursday, saying they’re getting calls from constituents worried about the coronavirus, wondering about the costs to society and the economy from all the business shutdowns and stay-home orders.

By the end of their weekly meeting, they’d directed public health officials to develop a logistics plan as soon as possible, with costs identified, to ramp up coronavirus testing in the county, using private labs if necessary.

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

The Kansas City Council passed a $1.7 billion budget Thursday even though the city does not yet know the full extent of the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on the city’s revenues.

“We are in a most serious time,” Councilwoman Teresa Loar said during Thursday’s four-hour debate. “We should just pass a budget, see where we’re at, and then we will take care of things as we go.”

Andrew Turner

Tens of thousands of people across Kansas and Missouri filed for unemployment benefits as many businesses were ordered to close to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Andrew Turner owns an auction house in the East Bottoms area of Kansas City, Missouri. He had to shut his business down two weeks ago after the city declared a state of emergency. 

“It's just kind of been a nightmare,” said Turner. “There's been zero business, and it's hard to manage with nothing coming in.”

Julie Denesha / KCUR

As COVID-19 begins to spread in the Kansas City area, health care workers and hospitals say they are struggling with a lack of resources as they try to prepare for a potentially huge demand for care.

Citing concerns about shortage of both medical equipment and staff, the Missouri State Medical Association this week sent a letter to Gov. Mike Parson urging him to issue a statewide “shelter-in-place” order.

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What Kansans Need To Know About COVID-19

Regular updates from the Kansas News Service