KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Local health officials say they are monitoring people in Kansas City for the coronavirus.
Dr. Rex Archer told the City Council Wednesday that nearly ten people are being monitored by the Kansas City Health Department.
These people don't have the virus, but they are staying in their homes for 14 days. During this time, the health department checks in with them two times a day to see if they have a fever or any kind of symptoms. So far, the local people being monitored are still healthy.
“Everybody can take a deep breath... and relax. There are no cases of this coronavirus COVID-19 here in Kansas City,” Archer told the council.
KCTV5 News pressed for more information, like the specific number of people being monitored or if they traveled from China, but health officials would not disclose that information, saying that the situation is complicated right now.
Health officials did say they found out about these people from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list of “potentially exposed” individuals.
Archer explained that the department is trying to protect these people, especially because at this point they don't have the virus, adding that officials don't want to panic the public.
“With any outbreak, if you aren't protecting privacy, then if you do have symptoms, they may be afraid to report them,” he said. “We have to balance protecting the individual's privacy with protecting the public's good.”
There are many factors at play in these decisions for officials, including different risk levels and criteria for monitoring.
The individuals under watch in Kansas City are considered "medium" risk. That means they've either had close contact with an infected person, lived in the same household as someone infected, or traveled from mainland China outside the most worrisome providence, Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located.
Around the world the virus has now killed more than 2,000 people, all but six of them in mainland China. It has infected more than 75,000 people.