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The first COVID-19 outbreak was reported in Douglas County Friday.

The first COVID-19 outbreak in Douglas County has been reported by the health department, according to a news release from Friday. 

Four individuals tested positive for the coronavirus with the same identified source of exposure at a place of business, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said in the statement.

This meets the outbreak designation because there were more than two positive cases from individuals living in separate households with the same place of exposure.

The name of the business has not been released because of patient privacy restrictions.

“One thing that is important to note, [Kansas Department of Health and Environment] testing protocol was expanded because it’s an outbreak and in a setting with long, sustained contact, day after day,” the health department said. “The expanded protocol allowed us to offer testing even to those who are asymptomatic.”

The health department said they believe the organization was following safety guidelines and keeping gatherings small to minimize exposure. 

They advise people to continue practicing social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Those who may have been exposed have been contacted by the health department and offered testing, even if they presented no symptoms. 

The outbreak will be taken into consideration by the Recovery Coordination Team in deciding when to move on from Phase 3 of the reopening plan. The next phase, which is a phase out of restrictions, can begin no earlier than June 21.

Douglas County has at least 79 cases of the coronavirus, as of June 12. 

“With our community opening up more in recent weeks... this is a reminder the coronavirus is still present in our community,” the release said, “and that we all need to continue to be vigilant, smart and safe in following recommended guidelines to contain the spread of the virus and protect those who might be most vulnerable.”