Theresa Freed (00:00):
On this episode you'll hear from Johnson County public health experts and leadership. They'll have details of work being done to get a better idea of how many people in the county have the coronavirus COVID-19 you'll also hear about what you can do to help stop the spread of this pandemic.
Whether you live in or just love Johnson County, Kansas, JoCo on the Go has everything Johnson County. Here's what's happening and what's coming up in the community you call home.
Theresa Freed (00:30):
Thanks for joining us for JoCo on the Go. I'm your host Theresa Freed a Johnson County resident and employee of Johnson County government. Well, the month of March was definitely one we won't soon forget and as we head into April, COVID-19 continues to spread. We have with us today several Johnson County officials who will share some of the steps we're taking to flatten the curve. Efforts to slow the virus so it doesn't overburden our healthcare system to the point where critically ill patients are not able to get the care they need in a timely manner. To get us started. Here's Johnson County chairman at Eilert with the latest efforts by the board.
Ed Eilert (01:04):
I would like to share with everyone the latest efforts that the county is involved in in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. As many of you know, we issued a stay at home order. Governor Kelly also issued a stay at home order. Her order supersedes the county order. Both of them focused on mitigating the community transfer of COVID-19. Other efforts that the county is engaged in to increase the testing in Johnson County. This testing would be done on a sample basis and we want to include age, gender symptoms or non-symptoms as well as geographic representation across the county. This data is to be used to evaluate and help us make decisions going further. We have the governor's order, which expires on the 19th. The county's original stay at home order expires on the 23rd. The president announced stay at home directions until the end of April. So hopefully we will have this data to help us make decisions going into the future. Regardless of the success or lack thereof of mitigating the virus. The instructions still stand wash hands practice separation distance of six feet also stay at home unless it's absolutely necessary to get out. The entire effort is focused on mitigating the community transmission of the virus.
Theresa Freed (03:02):
And now here's Johnson County Department of Health and Environment director, Dr. Sanmi Areola with more on what we're doing to understand the transmission of the virus.
Sanmi Areola (03:12):
We are committed as a county to stop in the spread of COVID-19 in our community and minimizing the impact on our residents. Part of our effort include planning to do more testing across our community so we have a good understanding of what is going on and we don't need to test everyone. I think that's a message that I want to make clear to everyone. It's not about testing and treating, it's about making population health decisions based on population data. Although we're still working on some of the logistics, we expect the additional enhanced testing to begin very soon. It would give us information on which to premise our decisions moving forward. And we'll also be able to determine the effectiveness of the steps that we have taken, whether in some cases we might need to continue some maybe increase the intensity in some cases or targets of populations that might be disproportionately affected. So we'll be providing more information regarding that in the coming days. Addressing the issue of COVID-19 we will continue to require your support, my participation and everyone's participation. It is a community effort. We ask that you continue to respect and follow the guidance that we've been providing. Don't go to work if you're sick, stay home, wash your hands, respect the physical distancing measures that we have in place. If we all do that and respect that and commit to that, we would have control and minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
Theresa Freed (05:13):
So in addition to expanding testing to get a better understanding of the transmission of COVID-19 in Johnson County, we're also addressing the need for masks. There are several varieties that have different purposes. We recently asked the public with sewing skills. If they could help make cloth masks, those would be used as a last resort. If disposable surgical mass supplies were exhausted. Here's Alyson Angell with MED-ACT with more details on that effort.
Alyson Angell (05:38):
We've received thousands of donations of cloth masks over the last week here at our support services facility in Olathe. In the past week we've had over 3000 masks and that's quite a few for our department. According to CDC guidance. We will utilize these masks should our stockpile of surgical mass become exhausted. In the meantime, with Department of Health and Environment and Emergency Management, we've gone out to our nursing and care facilities across Johnson County to ask if they would be able to utilize the masks. Over the next week in conjunction with the transportation department, we'll be spreading these masks out across the county to help those facilities and needs. We want to thank you so much for your support for donating all of the masks. We also want to thank you for the thank you notes that you've provided inside some of the packages of masks. We want to remind you that you shouldn't be going out to stores specifically to find cloth if you have cloth and elastic at home, that's clean and never been used. Please feel free to find an instructional online. You can drop off finished completed masks at our Johnson County MED-ACT Olathe station off of Old 56 Highway. The address is 205 East Flaming Road. There is a bucket out front for you to put your completed masks in.
Theresa Freed (07:02):
Another kind of mask known as N95s are of higher quality in our what many healthcare workers rely on. These are in short supply. The county is working to acquire more, but in the meantime the Johnson County Sheriff's office has come up with an innovative solution to help ensure there are enough of these masks. Here's Sheriff Calvin Hayden with details on that effort.
Cal Hayden (07:23):
Hi, I'm sheriff Cal Hayden here at the Johnson County Sheriff's office, our entire team is looking for unique solutions to the problems our community is facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know supplies are limited and the Sheriff's office is doing what we can to make sure supplies are being used in the most efficient manner. Our state of the art crime lab has developed a method for the sanitation and reuse of the N95 masks for frontline workers. With the use of UV lights, we are able to decontaminate multiple masks at a time. This process, which can be completed in just 60 minutes or less, allows us to reuse resources that are in high demand and short supply globally. And remember, the Johnson County Sheriff's office continues to provide the outstanding service our citizens have come to expect
Theresa Freed (08:05):
For much more information including regular daily updates. Visit us at jocogov.org/coronavirus.
You just heard JoCo on the Go. Join us next time for more everything Johnson County. Have a topic you want to discuss? We want to hear from you. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at JoCoGov. For more on this podcast, visit jocogov.org/podcast. Thanks for listening.