On Monday, Nov. 16, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Health Department Director Dr. Rex Archer and EMS Medical Director Dr. Erica Carney announced new COVID-19 Safer at Home guidelines for a “partial slowdown of activity” in Kansas City.
“We are in the toughest moment since this virus came into our communities, and overcoming this crisis requires an aggressive and immediate response,” said Mayor Lucas. “State lines, county lines, and city lines are nothing more than street names. It takes leadership and all of us—our entire region—to slow the spread.”
New guidelines in Mayor Lucas’ 11th Amended Order are as follows:
- All indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people maximum.
- Restaurants, taverns, and all other venues, including wedding and other event spaces, shall close at 10 p.m., require social distancing between different parties, and limit the number of occupants indoors to no more than 50 percent of building occupancy. Indoor and outdoor patrons at these facilities must be seated, and also masked at all times except when actively eating or drinking.
- Indoor and outdoor parties are limited to a maximum of 10 people and parties shall be spaced with no less than six feet of distance between themselves and individuals from any other parties.
- Restaurants, taverns, and bars must immediately report known COVID-19 cases to the Kansas City Health Department.
- Masks must be worn in all indoor spaces with more than one person per room, and outdoor spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Patrons of gyms, fitness, and recreational centers, including city, school, and other publicly-owned and managed facilities are required to wear masks at all times, and these establishments are limited to no more than 50 percent capacity.
“Our Safer at Home guidelines are based on recommendations from health leaders in Kansas City, in Jackson, Platte and Clay Counties in Missouri, and Wyandotte and Johnson County in Kansas,” continued Mayor Lucas. “We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19. We are Safer at Home and I encourage all Kansas Citians to significantly limit their activity as we work to mitigate the spread of this virus, which will help decrease the strain on our hospitals and healthcare workers and keep your families safe.”
Lucas, Archer, and Carney strongly recommend businesses to allow their employees to work remotely to the fullest extent possible.
“Without these additional protective measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission, we as a community will continue to see this epidemic spiral out of control,” said Dr. Archer. “Not only are we seeing record increases in new cases and COVID deaths, we will also experience additional deaths that could have been saved if there was room in the hospitals to treat these other conditions. If everyone takes personal responsibility to follow our new orders dozens of lives will be saved.”
They recommended cancelling traditional Thanksgiving plans, also.
On Aug. 13 Lucas signed the 10th Executive Order extending the State of Emergency through Jan. 16.
As of Nov. 13, 2020, Kansas City, Mo., has had 18,266 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. That means there is a case rate of 3,786 per 1,000 residents.
Since the city’s Health Department began tracking in March, 246 residents of Kansas City have died of COVID-19. The death rate is 51.1 per 1,000 residents.
In the past week alone, there have been 85 new hospitalizations due to COVID-19 symptoms, and 1,279 new cases. Twelve people succumbed to COVID-19 in the last week.
Cases rose 56% in the past two weeks, and the positivity rate also rose at 21.59%. The Health Department is looking for a positivity rate below 5%, which would indicate that the level of coronavirus transmission is low and that they are testing enough people.
In the past two weeks, residents aged 20 to 29 have been responsible for the most new cases with 445. Next, those aged 30 to 39 had 354 new cases, followed by 253 from those aged 40 to 49 and 259 from those aged 50 to 59.
If someone has been exposed to COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends they say home except for medical care, separate themselves from other people and animals at home, cover their coughs and clean their hands often, and wait to get tested until day 10.
The incubation period for COVID-19 is two to 14 days. Most people infected with the virus will not test positive until seven to 10 days after exposure. If someone gets tested too early, they may get a false negative test result.
“At this rate of widespread of transmission, our hospitals are experiencing unprecedented capacity issues,” said Dr. Carney. “With a worrisome spike in COVID-19 cases, the health system is quickly running out of beds and staff to be able to handle this influx of patients. We have no capacity. Slowing down the rate of infection must be everyone’s top priority.”
The city has set up a system to report employers, businesses or crowds violating this order by emailing COVIDViolations@kcmo.org or calling 311.
COVID-19 Community Drive-Through Testing locations can be found at KCMO.gov.
Kansas Citians interested in signing up for text updates from the City of Kansas City regarding COVID-19 should text COVIDKC to 888-777. For more information, visit the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/coronavirus or kcmo.gov/coronavirus. You may also call the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services hotline at 877-435-8411 for questions regarding COVID-19 in Missouri.