October 2020

Virtual events and investing CARES Act funding into the community

(October 1) JCDHE released updated school gating criteria based on emerging information and community input. The new criteria relied upon the incidence rate (number of new cases added per 100,00 people over two prior weeks) in addition to the percent positive rate, and also included an expanded hybrid option for middle and high schools.

(October 6) Johnson County released details on its three-phase plan to invest more than $35 million Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars focused into the community. Consistent with the Board of County Commissioner’s previously identified priorities, community survey responses, and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the funding fell into six funding priorities: 1) Mental Health, 2) Aging, 3) Housing, 4) Workforce Development, 5) Small Business Support, 6) Digital Access.

(October 7) The State Finance Council approved Governor Laura Kelly's request to extend her state of disaster declaration to Nov. 15. That action continued the mask mandate, affirmed by the BOCC, through that date as well.

Also on that day, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Director Dr. Sanmi Areola and Johnson County Mental Health Center Director Tim DeWeese issued a joint statement on the importance of making mental health a priority as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic.

(October 14) Johnson County Appraiser Beau Boisvert said despite facing economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson County was seeing an increase in real estate prices compared to last year. He forecasted an overall increase in residential appraised value in the 4-7% range.

(October 16) With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Johnson County held a virtual cybersecurity forum for businesses and the public. Experts shared information for use at home, at work and on the road to create a Cyber Security Safety Plan. Other virtual events in October included the Live Well Age Well annual expo and an employment information night for Johnson County Developmental Supports Employment Services.

(October 27) The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment released new public health recommendations for indoor winter sports. The information was shared in a letter to school superintendents. Considering the high level of COVID-19 in the community at the time, and the inherent risk of transmission with indoor winter sports, JCDHE strongly recommended schools do not allow indoor winter sports.

(October 28) Johnson County Wastewater announced it would join the University of Kansas and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in a study of COVID-19 in wastewater. According to the state’s top doctor, testing can help identify the virus up to a week before it shows in the case and hospitalization numbers. The initial study began in the spring to predict the spread of the virus.

(October 30) Johnson County Department of Health and Environment reported the highest number of infections in any one day – and the highest number in any one week – since the pandemic began. There were 287 new infections reported overnight – the most reported in any single day. That number brought the week’s total to 1,024 new infections for the week, with one more day to go. The most infections previously reported in a week were 810 the week of July 12-18.