News Releases and Media Advisories

COVID-19 Case at Osawatomie State Hospital; Kansas Neurological Institute Reports 12 Cases

For Immediate Release

June 22, 2020

For more information, contact:
Cara Sloan-Ramos
785-296-0807

TOPEKA – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard announced today that one staff member at Osawatomie State Hospital (OSH) has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first positive case at OSH in either residents or staff. Howard also announced the Kansas Neurological Institute (KNI) has 12 new positives cases in five staff members and seven residents.

To protect the identity of staff and residents at each hospital, no further information will be released.

Friday, June 19, an employee at OSH reported a positive test result to the hospital’s infection control nurse. In coordination with the Miami County Health Department, all 11 residents on the unit who were in close contact with the positive employee will be tested as a priority. A testing strategy that reaches beyond those working or living on the unit is currently being discussed and several steps have been taken to further maximize safety precautions already in place to minimize risk of further exposure:

  • Any employee with direct, close contact with the positive employee has been contacted and begun a 14-day quarantine as instructed by the Miami County Health Department.
  • Any patients directly exposed to the positive employee are strongly encouraged to isolate in their room and wear a facemask anytime they leave their room. Patients on the unit where the employee worked will remain on the unit and are being closely monitored for any change in status. COVID-19 testing will be implemented at the appropriate time according to time of exposure.
  • At this time, there will be no admissions to the affected unit. All staff working on the affected unit are required to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, to include nurses, other professionals, security and housekeeping.
  • Separate entrances and exits have been established on the affected unit to minimize exposure to staff and patients on other units.
  • The frequently touched surfaces in the affected unit are now being disinfected three times per shift.

“This is an extremely stressful time for patients, their loved ones and our staff members,” OSH Superintendent Kristin Feeback said. “We recognize that communication with patients, families and staff is critically important, especially after a confirmed COVID-19 case. I appreciate our staff being so responsive and adaptive to the instructions given by local health officials to make sure we do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus as effectively as possible.”

Thursday, June 18, KNI reported one staff member and one resident in the same home on campus tested positive for COVID-19 and at least one more staff member was symptomatic. Officials at KNI worked in collaboration with the Kansas Department for Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Shawnee County Health Department to administer more than 80 tests to all staff working in the affected home as well as all residents in the building where that home is located. At the time of this release, those tests have resulted in positive cases in five staff members and seven residents in three living units covering two campus buildings. Three of the 12 positive cases at KNI are symptomatic, but zero currently require hospitalization.

KDHE and KNI and local health department officials are expanding testing on campus in the coming days to include all staff in potentially affected areas with a goal of an additional 200 staff tested by end of day today. Residents in all three affected living units have already been tested. KNI continues to follow similar PPE practices to those implemented at OSH.

“We are thankful to the health officials at the state and local level for their quick and effective communication and response,” KNI Superintendent Brent Widick said. “Our residents are like family and we work very hard to keep them safe, so this kind of news takes a real emotional toll on our staff.”

KNI reported its first two cases of staff members on April 17 this year. Both of those cases have been cleared.

For current information on COVID-19 in Kansas, and to sign up for updates, go to the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Center at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/.