May 16, 2020 10:00 PM

Coronavirus cases linked to group event at Kan. lake

Posted May 16, 2020 10:00 PM

SHAWNEE COUNTY — Health Department authorities are investigating several cases of COVID-19 linked to one or more group events that took place in May at Lake Perry.

At least 10 people from multiple counties and two states who participated in the event(s) were confirmed as infected, according to Amanda Monhollon with the Shawnee County Health Department.

At least two additional people were infected as a result of having come in contact with the people who gathered at the lake. Over 20 people have been placed on quarantine as a result of having been exposed to the virus through some of the people who attended the lake event.

It appears that the gatherings at the lake violated the statewide stay-at-home order that was in place at that time, according to Monhollon.

During the investigation, the Shawnee County Health Department was able to unveil a link between some of the people infected at the lake and a recruit officer at the Topeka Police Department Recruit Academy Class who tested positive for the virus and who did not participate at any gatherings at Lake Perry. 

The Topeka Police Department was notified Friday afternoon that the recruit officers tested positive for COVID-19, according to police spokesperson Gretchen Koenen.

The recruit officer first felt ill over the weekend and immediately quarantined themselves at home. The recruit officer has not returned to work since feeling ill.

The presence of the infected recruit forced the academy to shut down temporarily. All the recruits have been placed on quarantine.

The Shawnee County Health Department urges anyone who visited the public areas (including restrooms) at Lake Perry between May 2 and May 10 who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 disease to contact their health care provider and alert them that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever of 100.4 F or higher, chills rigors, myalgia (muscle pain or aches), malaise, headache sore throat, lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing),  new olfactory and taste disorders and diarrhea.

“This is a strong reminder of how easy it is to be infected by this virus”, said Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, Shawnee County Health Officer. “It is also an example of how disregarding the orders of public health authorities may result in a cascade of events leading to large disruptions and exposure to the virus for multiple people.”

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May 16, 2020 10:00 PM
Pandemic casualty: JC Penney to close 240 stores

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney will close almost 30% of its 846 stores as part of a restructuring under bankruptcy protection. The ailing department store said Monday that it plans to close about 192 stores by February 2021, and then 50 additional stores in the year after that.

That would leave the company with just over 600 locations. J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy reorganization on Friday, making it the biggest retailer to do since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shut down all stores.

The company has not released a list of stores that will close.


NEW YORK (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has pushed troubled department store chain J.C. Penney into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

It is the fourth major retailer to meet that fate. Texas-based Penney said late Friday it will be reducing its store count and will be disclosing details and timing in the next few weeks.

It currently operates 850 stores and employs nearly 90,000 workers. It said that it received $900 million in financing to help it operate during the restructuring. Penney joins luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus and J.Crew in filing for bankruptcy reorganization. Others are expected to follow. Still many experts are pessimistic about Penney’s long-term survival.

Check the Post for additional details, as they become available on how the bankruptcy impacts local stores.


U.S. retail sales tumbled by a record 16.4% from March to April as business shutdowns caused by the coronavirus kept shoppers away, threatened stores across the country and weighed down a sinking economy.

The Commerce Department’s report on retail purchases showed a sector that has collapsed so quickly that sales over the past 12 months are down a crippling 21.6%. The sharpest drops from March to April were at clothiers, electronics stores, furniture stores and restaurants.

A long-standing migration of consumers toward online purchases is accelerating, with that segment posting a 8.4% monthly gain. Measured year over year, online sales surged 21.6%.