Coronavirus | KCUR

Coronavirus

A majority of Americans believe that while their communities will suffer in the short term from the COVID-19 pandemic, they will eventually recover.

And nearly one in 5 people feels their communities will emerge stronger than ever.

That’s according to a new Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos Hidden Common Ground survey — conducted last weekend and released today.

Daniel Caudill / Kansas News Service

Celia Ruiz updates her Facebook page multiple times a day. These days, the content is all coronavirus-related – flyers from school districts on how to get kids’ lunch, infographics from local health care providers, articles on how the virus is affecting people across the world. And she’s translating it all into Spanish.

Ruiz works for United Healthcare, so she’s constantly getting new information to share.

“Once I receive a resource, I try to translate it as best and as quickly and as correctly as I can,” Ruiz says.

Jodi Fortino / KCUR 89.3

Normally by April, most seasonal colds and flu have run their course, and allergies take over as the main culprit for causing coughs and sore throats.

COVID-19 might ease up slightly along with rising temperatures in the Kansas City area, but experts don’t think the disease will turn out to be just a seasonal problem.

“I think there may well be a seasonal component to it, but it’s also true that it’s not going to go away, in the sense that there won’t be cases running around,” says Gregory Glass, a researcher at the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This post will be updated periodically with information about the coronavirus in the Kansas City metro. For more information about the outbreak and how it is impacting life in the Kansas City area, read the FAQ.

Stay up to date with local coronavirus news. Subscribe to our morning news email here.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

About 1.8 million Missourians are not under a stay-at-home order as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state rose to 1,834 Thursday, according to a KCUR analysis. 

Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson has so far declined to issue a statewide order, instead saying cities and counties are best equipped to make the decision for their area. Most Missourians, about 70%, are under a county or city stay-at-home order. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Los condados de toda el área metropolitana han emitido órdenes de quedarse en casa para proteger a los vecinos de la propagación del nuevo coronavirus. Pero los que abogan por familias vulnerables a los peligros de la violencia y el abuso se preocupan porque éstas tienen un mayor riesgo por el estrés de  tener que refugiarse en sus lugares. Ese riesgo se intensifica por la pérdida de puntos de contacto para la intervención dentro de la comunidad, como servicios religiosos, visitas de rutina a consultorios médicos y controles diarios en la escuela. 

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center

Art galleries are considered "non-essential" during metro-Kansas City's stay at home order, so April's First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District is canceled.

Engin Akyur / Unsplash

Segment 1: Health care workers continue to work in unsafe environments.

A lack of protective gear and the silent nature of COVID-19 are just two new concerns piled on top of existing ones Kansas City health care providers deal with during the pandemic. Many are already coming to terms with the idea they will likely contract the virus.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The new coronavirus is spreading quickly around the world, including across Kansas, and setting off a range of responses.

The Kansas News Service is boiling down key developments in the state and updating the status regularly here. To read this information in Spanish, go here. This list was last updated at 1:20 p.m. April 1.

Engin Akyur / Unsplash

Segment 1: Health care workers continue to work in unsafe environments.

A lack of protective gear and the silent nature of COVID-19 are just two new concerns piled on top of existing ones Kansas City health care providers deal with during the pandemic. Many are already coming to terms with the idea they will likely contract the virus.

Lindsay Hanson Metcalf / The Journal

Librarians across Kansas struggled in March to find a balance between serving the intellectually curious and protecting public health.

Now, a statewide stay-at-home order from Gov. Laura Kelly appears to mean that all Kansas libraries will close or remain closed through April 19.

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

LAWRENCE, Kansas — It’s hard for Meg Heriford to tell people they’re no longer allowed to walk into her restaurant. She runs the Ladybird Diner in downtown Lawrence, one of the first restaurants in town to close when coronavirus cases spiked in the U.S.

After one crowded lunch service, Heriford said, she could no longer justify the risk to her staff or customers. The restaurant closed March 14, though she and a small number of staff haven’t stopped working. The Ladybird is offering free bagged lunches for anyone who needs them. Heriford buys the food from her usual distributor, prepares it and leaves it on carts in front of the restaurant.

Lexie Huelskamp / Courtesy of Rob Schulte

Rob Schulte, a registered nurse at Research Medical Center, was taking care of a patient with COVID-19 symptoms and wearing a surgical mask but thought he needed the additional protection of an N95 medical mask.

So he asked his supervisor for permission to don one. Her response, according to Schulte: If she let him wear one to treat a patient who had not been confirmed with the disease, everyone at the hospital would be asking for one.

Courtesy of Moriah Stonehocker

The spring semester is when most soon-to-be educators do their student teaching, but now they’re trying to figure out distance learning even as their own education has been interrupted.

Moriah Stonehocker is in her final semester at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a student teacher at J. A Rogers Elementary in Kansas City Public Schools.

“It's 2 p.m., so I should be at recess right now with my kids, but I'm here at home,” she said last week.

KCUR is working around the clock to keep you as informed as possible about the latest COVID-19 news in the Kansas City metro. 

Sedgwick County commissioners plan to ask the governor and health leaders to reconsider an exemption allowing abortion services to continue during the COVID-19 crisis.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

In a major reversal after an outcry from workers, Children’s Mercy Hospital announced Wednesday that it will allow all of its employees to continuously wear face masks during shifts for protection from the coronavirus.

In addition, the hospital said it will begin screening workers on Thursday, according to an email obtained by KCUR. As of March 31, the hospital had tested 255 employees, three of whom were positive for the virus, Children’s Mercy announced on its website.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: "No one is immune" to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, said Mayor Carson Ross.

The spread of the new coronavirus has already delayed local elections in Blue Springs, Missouri, but the full extent of the damage is yet to be known. It will undoubtedly include hits to public health, residents' wallets, tax revenue and more, says the suburb's mayor.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: "No one is immune" to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, said Mayor Carson Ross.

The spread of the new coronavirus has already delayed local elections in Blue Springs, Missouri, but the full extent of the damage is yet to be known. It will undoubtedly include hits to public health, residents' wallets, tax revenue and more, says the suburb's mayor.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Are you an employee of Stormont Vail or another Kansas health care providers that is reducing pay during the COVID-19 crisis? We want to hear from you.

TOPEKA, Kansas — A major hospital in the state’s capital slashed pay this week for many employees to try to weather financial woes spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

WICHITA, Kansas — Floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters raked across the plains of Kansas long before this latest pandemic swirled invisibly around the globe.

And no amount of hunkering down in this #AloneTogether period will ward off storm systems or the chaos they rain down.

To deal with that reality in this year of COVID-19, emergency response managers at the federal, state and county levels are retooling how they’ll act when disaster strikes.

Like parents around the country, Michelle Haffer never imagined having to become her child’s full-time teacher. But Haffer’s daughter is out of school and mostly stuck in the house.

And her daughter, Maddy, isn’t loving it.

“Well, she’s been struggling. It’s mostly the social distancing, in that nothing is open,” Haffer said.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

Johnson County government has started furloughing employees whose office functions are curtailed due to the coronavirus and who can’t work from home. Overland Park is also planning to furlough about 200 part-time employees.

Johnson County's furloughs affect 46 front-line workers in motor vehicle registration offices in Mission and Olathe, which have closed to the public during the pandemic.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

One day after the Jackson County Health Department told Bass Pro Shops to close its Independence store because it is a nonessential business, officials now say "the situation has changed."

Kayla Parker, a spokeswoman for the health department, said in an email Tuesday that officials are now "working with" Bass Pro Shops. She did not provide further information.

The store remained open Tuesday, with workers limiting customers inside the building to 50 at a time. There was no line outside the store. Inside, employees seemed to outnumber customers. 

Google

In the past several weeks, as metro Kansas City began working to avoid being overwhelmed by Covid-19 like big cities elsewhere, rural places like Wright County in southern Missouri have been barely touched by the disease.

But Wright County family physician Dr. David Barbe, along with other health care providers who work in remote parts of the state, have been pleading with Gov. Mike Parson to force their patients and neighbors to shelter in place.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

For live theater, the audience is essential. 

"You come to a show, you sit next to a stranger, you guys are laughing at the same thing, or you're intrigued by the same thing, or you're saddened or angry by the same thing," says actress Chioma Anyanwu. "It brings people together and we cannot come together right now. So that's really, really strange to be in that position."

Chelsea Engstrom / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the least fortunate among us.

One advocate for people experiencing homelessness says that population is always in crisis. When you add a worldwide pandemic to the mix, the stakes are even higher for them and the organizations that work to provide them the resources to survive.

Chelsea Engstrom / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the least fortunate among us.

One advocate for people experiencing homelessness says that population is always in crisis. When you add a worldwide pandemic to the mix, the stakes are even higher for them and the organizations that work to provide them the resources to survive.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

As April's rent becomes due across the Kansas City metro, tenants face an uncertain legal landscape subject to the vagaries of the coronavirus and how soon its spread can be stopped.

That's been the case for tenants such as Erin White, who rents an apartment in Skyler Ridge, a 200-unit complex on 115th Street just west of Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.

Courtesy of the National World War I Museum and Memorial

Even when the National World War I Museum and Memorial is open, the majority of its vast holdings aren’t on public display but stored for safekeeping.

Now, with a metro-wide stay-at-home order keeping the Kansas City museum closed until at least April 24, museum employees who usually work with guests are helping transcribe about 10,000 digitized pages from letters, diaries and journals.

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