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Johnson County, Kansas, Reports Its First Death From Coronavirus

Johnson County, Kansas, has logged its first fatality from the coronavirus, according to officials with the county's health department.

The victim is a man in his 70s who had underlying health conditions, said Barbara Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the department. The man was being treated at a Johnson County hospital. Mitchell declined to say which hospital or release further details.

In a news release, Dr. Sanmi Areola, the Johnson County Health Department Director, said the victim had no history of travel. Areola also urged residents to follow best practices for limiting the spread of coronavirus: "Work from home, if possible, wash your hands and disinfect surfaces frequently and stay home when you are sick." 

The county has now tallied 26 total cases, including the fatality. The death brings the state total to two, alongside a man in his 70s who died last week in Wyandotte County.

Including the two deaths, KDHE statistics released Saturday morning tallied 55 confirmed cases in Kansas (an additional case listed by the Johnson County health department appears to make it 56). The state reported 13 cases in Wyandotte County.

Chris Haxel is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email him at chaxel@kcur.org, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisHaxel.

Copyright 2020 KCUR 89.3

Chris comes to KCUR as part of Guns & America, a reporting collaboration between 10 public media stations that is focused on the role of guns in American life. Hailing from Springfield, Illinois, Chris has lived in seven states and four counties. He previously served in the Army, and reported for newspapers in Kansas and Michigan. Chris lives in downtown Kansas City. He roots for St. Louis sports teams, which means he no longer cares about the NFL.