Specimens of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Coronavirus 2, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, emerge from infected human cells taken from a patient in the United States at an undefined date.

Atchison County emergency and health officials confirmed on Sunday that a middle-aged woman is the first person testing COVID-19 positive in Atchison County.

Lori Forge RN, Atchison County Health Officer, and Wesley Lanter, of Emergency Management, confirmed March 29 the patient is in isolation. Immediately after health officials were advised of the positive test result, the county’s health department staff began their work to identify contacts of the patient.

On Tuesday, March 31, Lanter said county health officials have determined the patient, a woman in her 40s, had been traveling outside the area and had minimal exposure to others in our community. The patient had self-quarantined as soon as she returned from her traveling, then left home to get testing at Atchison Hospital, Lanter said.

The patient was considered not to be at high risk and currently remains in self-quarantine and will do so until 14 days after all symptoms end. In the meantime, health officials will maintain constant contact with the patient and her family members until Forge releases them from quarantine.

The patient was tested while she was inside a vehicle by Atchison Hospital & Clinics staff, a hospital spokesperson said in a press release. The hospital had recently tested the patient, but confirmation of the positive test result was received on Sunday.

Both Forge and Lanter urge all citizens to take heed by sheltering in place, practice social distancing whenever out in public places, and stop the spread of the virus in Atchison County.

Whenever travel is necessary to public places to take care of essential needs and get supplies only one person should go, Lanter said. The remaining members of the family should stay at home.

“The longer we don’t comply with the shelter at home order is the longer we will be in this situation,” Lanter said.

As of afternoon hours on Monday, March 30, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment offered its daily public update. There were 368 confirmed positive COVID-19, of these patients 187 were female patients and 181 males. The patients range in age from 4 to 95-years-old. Fifty-five is the median age of the patients. There were 4,554 persons tested in Kansas who received negative results. The death toll had reached eight.

Northeast Kansas Counties having confirmed cases are: Atchison – one; Doniphan – one; Jefferson – one; Jackson – one; Douglas – 23; Leavenworth – 20; Shawnee – 14; Johnson – 116; and Wyandotte – 67.

“Please help us slow the spread of the virus in our community by following the order set in place by the Atchison County Health Department and the governor of Kansas, which states individuals may leave their residence only to perform an essential activity,” Forge said in a press release.

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