Douglas County reported its first two coronavirus-related deaths, local health officials said Wednesday.
The first was a male resident in his 70s who died earlier in July. His death was initially not thought to be related to the coronavirus, but a further review by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment finalized on Wednesday classified it as a death related to COVID-19.
The second person was a male resident in his 80s who died this week, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health. Both people had been hospitalized.
"This is a tragic loss of life, and we share our heartfelt condolences with the families," LDCPH Director Dan Partridge said. "While the majority of cases of COVID-19 are believed to be mild, the virus can cause a very serious infection that can lead to death. This is why it is important for everyone to take precautions right now, including wearing masks, to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.”
The county added 16 new confirmed cases of the virus since Monday, bringing the total to 542 confirmed cases.
Of the confirmed cases, 135 are active and 407 are inactive or past the infectious period. Nearly 10,300 people have been tested in Douglas County.
Cases are still increasing in Douglas County, but at a slower rate than earlier in the month. Early in July, the county added over 100 cases in one weekend, according to a health department update July 6.
“Unfortunately, this is a reminder of the importance of taking precautions, especially practicing social distancing and wearing a mask when you leave your home and encounter others in public,” said Local Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino. “We continue to ask everyone to be diligent in protecting themselves and our neighbors.”
Statewide, cases also continue to increase.
Kansas added 770 new cases since Monday, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The state now has 24,104 confirmed cases and 308 deaths as of 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The Kansas and Douglas County health departments release full updates on official case numbers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.