Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health continues to encourage vaccination and other safety measures to help lower the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. It is important for individuals to access their risk and take appropriate precautions.
These precautions include:
- Get vaccinated. Anyone ages 5 and older is eligible for vaccination. Vaccinations are widely available at pharmacies and health clinics.
- Get tested. COVID self-tests can protect you and others by reducing the chances of spreading the virus that causes coronavirus. The CDC recommends testing at least five days after known or suspected close contact to COVID, before and after travel, or if you have symptoms. Symptoms include: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
- Wear a face mask. The CDC recommends wearing a face mask when you are sick or caring for someone with COVID. You may choose to wear a mask that offers protection in certain situations such as when you are with people at higher risk for severe illness, or if you are at higher risk of severe illness. You may also want to consider a community's level of cases, hospitalizations and hospital beds used. You can find the CDC's tool for checking community levels here: Know Your COVID-19 Community Level.
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health developed a tool to help community members understand the level of COVID-19 transmission and make decisions for themselves and their families on how to mitigate risk. The Community Transmission Indicator replaces previous tools, including the School Reopening Guidance used during the 2020-21 school year.
“We have developed these metrics based historically on what the community has seen with COVID,” said LDCPH Director Dan Partridge. “We want to ensure we are giving our community members guidance and tools to decide for themselves what they can do safely as individuals, based on how much of the virus is in the community and how quickly it is spreading.”
The guidance will not replace any potential executive health orders, but it will allow health officers to provide guidance and recommendations to community members. Individuals are encouraged to take their own medical conditions, career, and living circumstances into account when deciding how they want to protect themselves.
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system (Check with your doctor to see if any of your medications qualify)
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress your immune system
- Going back to your vaccination site with your ID to see if they can give you a replacement
- Contacting your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record
- Contacting your health department's immunization information system (IIS), if you can't get to your vaccination provider. You can find Kansas' IIS information here or you can call 877-296-0464.
- If you enrolled in V-safe or VaxText, you can access your vaccination information through those tools.
- COVID-19 Information
- Smart & Safe: Reopening Douglas County
- Douglas County & Unified Command
- Daily Update Archive
- Additional Links
What is COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name for this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona’, ‘VI’ for ‘virus’, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice for naming of new human infectious diseases.
How is COVID-19 Spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person in respiratory droplets from someone who is infected. People who are infected often have symptoms of illness. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
You can slow the spread by maintaining social distancing of 6 ft, by staying home except for essential activities, and limiting gatherings to less than 10 people. To protect yourself and those around you wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub frequently. Individuals should also clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
Smart & Safe: Reopening Douglas County
Douglas County is currently in Phase 3 of the county’s Smart & Safe: Reopening Douglas County Plan for two weeks through July 5.
Phase 3 prohibits mass gatherings of 45 or more people. All businesses, activities and venues, including swimming pools, have been able to open in this phase provided they can maintain at least six feet of social distance between individuals or groups, follow fundamental cleaning and public health practices, and avoid instances in which the mass gathering limit is exceeded and individuals are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.
People should wear a mask or cloth face covering any time they venture into public and according to public health guidelines and recommendations, businesses should require employees to wear masks. Dr. Marcellino, Douglas County Local Health Officer, said it is especially important to wear a mask any time you go inside a public place or business. Outside, wear a mask if you are in a situation where you may not be able to keep six feet of social distance from someone who is not a family member.
"We appreciate the businesses in our community that have closed in the past under earlier health orders, and now that they are open, we are asking for their continued cooperation by requiring employees to wear masks,” Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Director Dan Partridge said. “We also ask members of the public to wear masks when they venture out. We have had a strong community effort for several months, as people have made sacrifices and worked to take care of their neighbors. We are asking people to redouble their efforts and keep doing that.”
Other important ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19 are:
- Practice social distancing, meaning staying at least 6 feet apart from others when in public or outdoors;
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not immediately available;
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow;
- Avoid touching your face;
- Keep your home and office surfaces clean;
- Stay home as much as possible and keep your circle of contacts small.
Douglas County’s Smart & safe Reopening Plan is modeled after Governor Laura Kelly’s Ad Astra plan. You can review the full Governor’s plan for details and this reopening guidance by industry. Anyone with questions about a public health order can email email@example.com.
Mission: Unified in protecting the health and safety of our community and providing critical services
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, LMH Health, Douglas County and the City of Lawrence have activated what is know as a Unified Command under the National Incident Management System. We are all working closely with the cities of Eudora, Baldwin City, and Lecompton in addition to schools and universities, law enforcement agencies, first res ponders, human service providers and others to protect the health and well-being of all Douglas County residents. Check out the Douglas County Response Hub.
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health
On Monday April 27, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health reopened limited clinic services that were suspended during COVID-19 pandemic. The reopened services will be to treat patients experiencing sexually transmitted diseases and to give immunizations to pregnant mothers and children up to age 2. All visits will be available by appointment only scheduled by the clinic’s front desk staff at 785-843-0271. Appointments for immunizations are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with STD appointments for symptomatic patients available on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
The WIC clinic has moved to virtual appointments via online and phone services to promote social distancing measures. Healthy Families Douglas County and Healthy Dads services have also moved to virtual services at this point.
Resources for Douglas County Residents
- Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Coronavirus Line: 785-856-4343
- LMH Health Coronavirus Line: 785-505-3463
Are you needing to file for unemployment? Individuals can file claims online or by phone at 785-575-1460. Due to extremely high call volumes the Kansas Department of Labor encourages those who need to submit an unemployment claim to go online (https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Home.aspx) to fill out their claim. This will be the quickest way to receive your benefits.
Did you lose your job or have your hours reduced a a result of COVID-19? Businesses across Kansas need thousands of workers for immediate hire. Learn more about hose is hiring at kansasworks.com/coronavirus.
United Way 2-1-1
United Way 2-1-1 is ready to connect you to the services you’re looking for 24/7 and at no cost:
- Call 2-1-1 to chat with a call specialist
- Text your ZIP Code to 898211 to get referrals
- Search online at Douglas.MyResourceConnection.org
For those who are feeling anxious, fearful, stressed, or depressed - You are not alone. Douglas County offers an online tool called myStrength that can help. It is available 24/7 and it’s free. Visit myStrength.com and use access code: DouglasCounty.
Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center: 785-843-9192
Douglas County’s food pantry Just Food is coordinating efforts to provide food assistance in our community. To sign up as a Just Food client:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, clients are eligible to receive a grocery box every two weeks. There are two ways to receive a box:
- Attend a curbside distribution, Wednesdays and Fridays, noon-5 p.m., 1000 E. Eleventh Street in Lawrence.
- Sign up for delivery here: http://bit.ly/JustFoodDeliveryRequest
Grocery Delivery Service
Independence Inc. Public Transportation is offering free pickup and delivery of grocery orders, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Anyone living in Douglas County is eligible for the service. For service, follow these steps:
- Call 785-843-5576 and let Independence Inc. know what day you will be placing a grocery order.
- Call to place your grocery and essential items order. Pay for order in full and let the store know that Independence Inc. will be picking up the order.
- Call 785-843-5576 again to confirm order has been placed and the day it will be ready for pick up.
Questions? Call 785-843-5576
United Way of Douglas County is accepting donations between noon and 2 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at the southwest corner of the Community Building at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper Street. Only items listed in the donation request list will be accepted. To find out what items are needed and to learn about safety protocols, visit: http://volunteerdouglascounty.org/donations. If you have questions about donations, you can call 2-1-1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Updates Archive
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Executive Orders/News Releases
- June 19, 2020: Douglas County to extend Phase 3 through July 5
- June 5, 2020: Positive COVID-19 case attended recent protest in downtown Lawrence
- May 22, 2020: Unified Command to transition to COVID-19 Recovery Coordination Team
- May 14, 2020: Douglas County Reopening Task Force to align with Governor’s phased plan
- May 12, 2020: Public Health operates COVID-19 testing site in east Lawrence
- May 8, 2020: More than 150 survey respondents reported unresolved COVID-19-related symptoms in late April
- May 8, 2020: Monitoring COVID-19 tests, cases by race ethnicity in Douglas County
- May 1, 2020: FAQs for Reopening Phase 3
- May 1, 2020: Libraries, in-house dining at restaurants in Douglas County to remain closed through May 17
- April 28, 2020: Second wave of COVID-19 symptoms population survey opens to Douglas County residents
- March 24, 2020: Governor issues temporary, statewide Stay Home order beginning March 30 - Executive Order No. 20-16
- March 17, 2020: First case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) identified in Douglas County
- March 17, 2020: Executive Order No. 20-07 - Closing K-12 schools to slow the spread of COVID-19
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include (*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.):
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
You can check your symptoms using the Coronavirus Self-Checker on the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html#cdc-chat-bot-open
For More Information
- CDC - total cases nationwide
- Information from CDC on Workplace, Home and School Guidance
- Frequently Asked Questions - 2019 Novel Coronavirus
- COVID-19 Symptoms Poster - English
- COVID-19 Symptoms Poster - Spanish
- Stop the Spread of Germs Poster - English
- Stop the Spread of Germs Poster - Spanish
- EPA Approved Disinfectants for Use Against Novel Coronavirus