May 9, 2020

Across the Kansas City region, cities and counties will start to relax stay-at-home orders. Local health departments encourage citizens to continue taking steps to reduce the spread of illness to avoid another sharp increase in cases. Until there is a vaccine, residents and businesses must adjust to a new normal.

“It is very tempting to believe you can return to normal life once the stay-at-home orders are gradually relaxed, but community spread of COVID-19 is still happening and citizens should continue to take precautions in the coming weeks,” said Gary Zaborac, director of public health at the Clay County Public Health Center. “Frequent handwashing, staying home if you are ill, wearing cloth face coverings when going out in public, and continuing to practice social distancing are things we must continue to do in order to slow the spread of illness in our communities.”

The best way to prevent the spread of the illness is to avoid exposure to the virus. You can limit your exposure by leaving your home only when necessary, such as for work, medical care, to purchase groceries or medication, or to spend time outdoors.

Whether you are going back to work or picking up lunch from a nearby restaurant, make sure you are six feet or more from others, especially when around other people for more than 10 minutes. It is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Continue to practice good hygiene by washing your hands often, covering your nose and mouth with a cloth face mask and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

“The steps residents and community leaders took during the past month helped reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our region, giving first responders and health care workers the capacity and time to help people who were ill,” said Jamie Miller, director of Leavenworth County EMS and Health Department. “The weather is getting warmer and students are eager to celebrate graduations. We would advise residents to limit the number of people gathering in one location and keep a safe distance between yourself and others, especially if you are immune compromised or over the age of 60.”

The region’s business and civic communities are coordinating to support employees’ safe return to work. Safe Return KC, a roadmap informed by federal, state and local sources, is now available to help companies re-open offices and welcome employees, guests and vendors back to the workplace.