Social Distancing

CLAY COUNTY — As of 5 p.m., Thursday, April 2, Clay County Public Health reports the number of positive COVID-19 patients that live outside Kansas City in Clay County rose by three from Wednesday, April 1, to 23.

Kansas City residents that reside in Clay County with the virus, which are reported by Kansas City Health Department, rose by 6 to 35, making the total of infected Clay County residents 58. There have been zero virus-related deaths.

Of those infected residing in Kansas City, according to the Clay County Public Health Center, a majority of their transmissions cannot be traced, meaning it is unclear if they were infected during travel, in their local community or by close contact with another who has or had it. Of those elsewhere in Clay County that are traced by CCPHC, 16 of the 23 infections were community-based.

State health experts said facts like these about community transmission prove the importance of social distancing. In cities across the Northland, city leaders say they are receiving reports of groups including children gathering in close proximity.

"We’ve seen a lot of commentary regarding large groups of kids and teenagers congregating in neighborhoods and local fast food restaurants," wrote Smithville City Clerk Linda Drummond on the NextDoor social media application regarding Smithville. "While we understand that no one wants to spend all of their time at home, that’s exactly what we should be doing. The only people that we should be around while at home are those that we live in the same house with."

People ignoring social distancing recommendations have lead some cities and state agencies to close public spaces like local playgrounds in Kearney and Smithville and state parks like Watkins Mill in Lawson to address overcrowding and flatten the curve of increasing infection rates.

"Practices such as social and physical distancing, and self-quarantine and isolation when appropriate can slow the rate of infection in a city, town or community," wrote Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins University, on the medical school's site, www.hopkinsmedicine.org. "The pandemic can seem overwhelming, but in truth, every person can help slow down the spread of COVID-19. By doing your part, you can make a big difference to your health and that of others around you."

Clay Countians got a grade of "C," meaning average performance, when it comes to stay-at-home orders according to a new report from Unacast. Nearby Platte County earned a "B."

Unacast, a company that tracks human mobility data, used GPS information from mobile devices to track changes in how much people are moving around since the COVID-19 outbreak. The company issued a report card and corresponding map, giving grades on both a statewide and county-by-county basis. The report card can be accessed by clicking HERE.

According to the company, Clay County scored better than Missouri overall, with the state earning a "D" with it's 1,485 confirmed cases.

"We will overcome this, but people must stay home as much as possible in order to do that. This means staying home unless absolutely necessary to get out,” Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday. “You are not stuck at home, you are safe at home, and the sooner everyone does this, the sooner Missourians will be on the road to recovery.”

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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