Coronavirus update

A nurse wearing a mask and gloves for protection from the coronavirus leaves Wellstar Kennestone on the afternoon that Georgia authorities confirmed the state's first coronavirus related death, a 67-year-old male at the hospital, on Thursday in Kennesaw, Ga. 

Over the age of 60 with any type of medical problem?

 “Stay home” recommended U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall in a phone conference Thursday morning.

Marshall, who is a medical doctor, said to use caution but it is not the time to “panic” because of the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

He said there is no reason to close schools or limit travel within the United States.

The Abilene public schools are on spring break until March 23.

“No child under the age of 9 has died from this virus,” he said. “Most children will have minimal symptoms, probably for two or three days, like a normal cold.”

However, anyone over the age of 60 with a medical problem should stay home.

He defined medical problems as a heart condition, a lung condition, COPD, uncontrolled asthma and diabetes.

“If you have comorbidity, by comorbidity I’m saying if you have two or three things going on; if you are over the age of 80 and you have a heart or lung condition, you really need to stay home,” he said. “It depends on who you are, your age group, your health conditions as well.”

Marshall said he recognized that tourism in Abilene is attracting a lot of people including those from out of the country.

He also said nursing homes and hospitals should have minimal visitors.

“I think their employees coming in and out should do extra scrubbing of their hands,” he said. “I encourage them to change clothes when they get there. They should have special scrubs there as well. Minimize the amount of exposures.”

Village Manor

restrictions

Thursday afternoon, Village Manor in Abilene announced it was currently taking precautions to prevent the possible spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to residents. Restriction on visitors, and those who are not direct family members (son, daughter or spouse) or caregiver (DPOA) will not be allowed to visit. Any individuals that show any signs or symptoms of respiratory illness will also be asked to not enter the facility.

Village Manor is in daily contact with many state and federal agencies (KDHE, CMS, CDC, LeadingAge) to keep updated on the on-going changes so they can further protect the residents, and will be making changes in the protective steps as needed.

“Our highest priority is to protect our residents at Village Manor,” said Andy Sutter, Village Manor executive director/RN.

The staff of Village Manor is receiving on-going training, and information, on recommended measures to help insure all precautions are in place.

Ike Museum closes

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum will close at the end of the business day today, March 13, as a public health precaution, due to COVID-19.

All National Archives research rooms nationwide, including those at presidential libraries and museum, will be closed to the public until further notice, according to The National Archives.

“All public events in National Archives facilities nationwide are canceled until further notice. This includes in-person public programs, tours, school group visits, public meetings, external conferences, and facility rentals. Where possible, we will conduct public events and outreach activities online and through virtual meetings,” according to archives.gov.

Marshall said anyone showing concern should contact their personal physician, which is also being recommended by the Dickinson County Health Department. He said KDHE can response to a sample within three to four hours. 

“I think it is more important that I am a doctor today, than a congressman,” he said.

Infections

He said the United States has only 1,300 cases. Three of them are in Kansas. ABC news reported Thursday that 39 people have died from the virus in the U.S.

“That is 1,300 too many but I thought it would have been doubled or quadrupled by now,” Marshall said. “Our health departments are doing a good job in tracking down contacts and medicating the spread of this virus.”

Four of those case are in Johnson County.

Health officials said the cases involve male individuals who traveled to a Florida conference.

Johnson County was also the site of the state’s first case, a Johnson County woman under 50, which was announced on Saturday. Officials said the case was unrelated to those announced Thursday.

Officials said the woman had traveled to the northeast United States and had done “everything right” when she returned to prevent the spread of the illness. On Monday, officials at the University of Kansas Hospital said that she was doing well.

Also on Saturday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced the state’s first positive case of COVID-19, which was reported in St. Louis County.

Marshall said he expects the virus will spread.

“I think we will see more infections coming out as well,” he said. “We need to make sure that when people do get sick, that people in the ICUs, the doctors and nurses have what they need.”

He said the most important thing for the economy is keeping Americans working.

“Maybe there have been too many cancellations but I can’t criticize anybody for doing that,” he said. 

He said the cancelations of events, mentioning the Big 12 tournament, is out of an “over abundance of caution.” The NCAA also canceled the Final Four and the NBA placed its season on hold

“I respect that,” he said. 

Kansas State University, Kansas Wesleyan, Washburn and Emporia State University officials also said Thursday they would mirror key elements of the University of Kansas’ response to spread of coronavirus by delaying resumption of classes after spring break and granting faculty time to migrate course content and instruction to online platforms.

Marshall said soon the U.S. will have the capacity to do 4 million tests a week.

His press conference was called after President Donald Trump’s address on Wednesday night where the president announced a travel ban from Europe. 

“As a physician in Congress I have been putting my nose to the grindstone. We’ve been talking to the CDC (Center for Disease Control ) every chance we get. We are communicating with them daily and the Kansas Health and Environment as well.”

Two months

“We have a couple months ahead of us. We have two more months to face this challenge. Kansans are used to facing challenges and we’ll be fine. It’s good for people to know that there is an endpoint to this.”

He said this was not similar to the financial crisis of 2008 when the outcome was unknown. 

“Our focus absolutely is on the health, safety and wellbeing of Kansans,” he said. 

“Every person that we prevent from being infected today, we are preventing dozens of future infections,” he said.

By preventing infections, by quarantining people, by tracking down contacts, it will help in limiting the spread of COVID-19. 

Marshall said he wanted to give a calm message out to the public. 

“It is not a time to panic. We have a good plan. We have a solid plan the president and the vice president have given us. This is the time to implement the plan. It is not a time to panic,” he said.

Legislation

Marshall said, as of Thursday morning, he has not seen any legislation prepared by the Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“We are starting to look at it. Talking to our leadership here, it is too much, and it’s too soon,” Marshall said. “I think if we wait just three days, we’ll have a better idea of where this country is.”

Marshall was asked that since there are cases in the state of Kansas, why not pass a relief package that the Democrats are suggesting for communities sooner rather than later.

“I don’t think this is the time to light money on fire,” Marshall said. “We’ll have a much better idea if we just catch our breath for three days.” 

He said the biggest impact would be simply preventing the virus from spreading.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com

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