CLAY COUNTY — According to Clay County Public Health Director Gary Zaborac, one of the most recently reported positive cases of novel coronavirus in Kansas City came from a test conducted at Liberty Hospital.
Zaborac said he could not speak to whether the test was positive or presumptive positive, but that his office, per proper protocol, forwarded the details to the area health department agency where the person resides, in this case, the Kansas City Health Department.
The Kansas City Health Department has yet to return a request for comment.
Following a state of emergency declaration by Clay County Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte on Tuesday, March 17, Zaborac ordered on Wednesday, March 18, that there be no public gatherings either indoor or outdoor of 10 or more people with the exception of governmental and judicial functions, health care facilities, day care facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, private business operations, religious and faith-based activities, weddings and funerals, to help prevent the possible spread of the virus.
The public health director also ordered all restaurants, dining facilities, bars, taverns, clubs and movie theaters in the county closed to the public unless they provide curbside, drive-thru and/or delivery of food and beverages.
These orders are in effect until April 1.
"We recognize the hardships on our communities that these measures represent. However, extraordinary measures are required in these extraordinary times. We must continue to work together as community to protect those who are most vulnerable," Zaborac said following his order.
For weeks, Liberty Hospital, the Missouri Hospital Association and other Kansas City area hospitals have been preparing to receive and care for COVID-19 patients, states a hospital release.
"We want to reassure our community that we are monitoring the situation closely and, like all hospitals, doing our part to help prevent the spread of the virus and take care of those affected. We are doing this by limiting hospital entrances, instituting a no visitor policy, enacting our Incident Command team, screening each person who comes to our doors and educating the public about COVID-19 symptoms as well as steps to take should they experience symptoms," states a Liberty Hospital release.
Dr. Raghu Adiga, chief medical officer at Liberty Hospital, said at this time, hospital staff is treating a female patient who tested positive for COVID-19, is in "good" condition and is in her 60s. Her infection, the doctor said, is travel related. Adiga said the patient is properly isolated, and staff is providing care following all infection prevention protocols.
A release from staff of Clay County government sent out Friday, March 20, reports there are still no COVID-19 cases among Clay County Public Health's jurisdiction, which covers a majority of Clay County except the parts of Kansas City that are within Clay County boundaries.
"There are several confirmed cases in nearby areas and so all residents, regardless of age, are encouraged to practice social distancing to slow the spread of disease,” states the county staff release. “...While a number of county services remain available online, all county buildings remain closed to the public. Citizens should check the circuit court website for information on pending cases and court access.”
Adiga said like all hospitals, Liberty Hospital continues to provide treatment and care for all other patients.
"While we expect more patients to present to our hospital with COVID-19, we will continue to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of all our patients, providers and staff and our community," he said.