Mar 21, 2020 3:41 PM

2 more travel-related cases of coronavirus in Douglas County

Posted Mar 21, 2020 3:41 PM

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health announced Saturday two new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Douglas County, bringing the county’s current total to three. Results sent to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Laboratories identified the positive cases, according to a media release.

The new cases involve a woman in her 30s who recently traveled to the West Coast, and a man also in his 30s who recently traveled to England. Both patients are in isolation.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, as part of disease investigation protocol, is working to identify any close contacts of the individuals, and we will contact those who were exposed as soon as possible. We will be monitoring them for fever and respiratory symptoms. No further information about the patients will be released.

The KDHE has issued mandates earlier this week for quarantine and isolation of travelers who visited places in the United States where the disease is present in large numbers. The first case in Douglas County announced on March 17 was a man in his 20s who had recently traveled to Florida.

In an effort to stem the outbreak and promote social distancing, Douglas County Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino has issued orders in recent days, including one to prohibit public gatherings of more than 10 people and close restaurants, dining facilities, bars, taverns, night clubs and movie theaters through April 1. Restaurants can offer carryout, drive-through and delivery services.

Marcellino has also strongly recommended:

  1. People avoid non-essential trips and stay home to the extent they can.
  2. Practice good hygiene, including frequently washing your hands, avoid touching your face and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow.
  3. Daycare centers close while schools are closed.
  4. Retirement communities and long-term care centers limit visitors.
  5. People avoid large gatherings including sports practices, games and tournaments and unnecessary social gatherings.
  6. If you do need to go out in public, work to ensure you maintain six feet from other people.

Public Health has worked closely on these decisions with numerous community partners, including Douglas County Government, City of Lawrence, Douglas County Emergency Management, LMH Health and leadership of local public and private school districts.

Douglas County residents can also stay informed as informatio

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Mar 21, 2020 3:41 PM
Kansas woman sentenced for killing mother's boyfriend
Hemmerling -photo Jefferson County Sheriff

OSKALOOSA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas woman has been sentenced to life in prison for her role in the 2018 shooting death of her mother's boyfriend.

Ashlyn Hemmerling was sentenced after pleading guilty to first-degree murder last year in the March 2018 shooting death of 22-year-old Taylor Dean Sawyer, of Lawrence, in a remote area of Perry Lake, according to Jefferson County Attorney Josh Ney.

Blevins photo KDOC

Hemmering's boyfriend, 23-year-old Jonathan Blevins, was sentenced last year to life in prison with no chance of a parole for 50 years. Authorities said previously Hemmerling helped plan the shooting, which likely involved a domestic dispute and drug use.