PITTSBURG – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment noted in its daily coronavirus update early Tuesday afternoon that 15 cases of the disease have now been confirmed in the state – in Butler, Johnson, Franklin and Wyandotte counties – including one death, while there have been 382 negative tests.
Also on Tuesday, local law enforcement announced precautions they are taking.
The Pittsburg Police Department will limit public services and cancel or postpone community events in response to concerns about the virus, the department said Tuesday. “This includes Citizen's Academy and other previously scheduled community outreach,” the PPD said in a press release.
Fingerprinting services will cease until further notice, the public is being encouraged to file reports by phone at 620-231-1700 rather than in person at the law enforcement center lobby, and Pittsburg Municipal Court has closed.
“In an effort to limit community spread and close quarter exposure, Municipal Court will be closed effective immediately and until April 15,” the PPD release notes. “All hearings, trials, and first appearances will be rescheduled. Those expecting court dates between March 18 and April 15 will receive mail notification with a new court date.”
Citizens who need to pay fines can call 620-231-9880 or use the drop box located at the front entrance to the law enforcement center and will receive a receipt in the mail. Those needing to request a copy of an incident report for insurance or other purposes can call 620-235-0400.
At the Crawford County Commission meeting Tuesday, Sheriff Danny Smith discussed precautions the Sheriff’s Office is taking in response to the increased risk of COVID-19 spreading to the county.
His department has been working on cleaning at the Crawford County Jail and is trying to both reduce outside exposure to inmates at the jail and limit inmate movement with the jail.
“We’ve never really had any flu outbreaks,” at the jail, Smith said. “I don’t know how, but I don’t think we have in the past.”
While the Sheriff’s Office is attempting to do what it can to respond to fears of the coronavirus spreading to the area, however, there is only so much it can do without ceasing to perform its essential functions.
“We can’t stop enforcing the laws,” Smith said.
“For us there’s an inherent risk to everything we do,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s this type of stuff or out on the street or in the jail, so we know that and we’re just doing the best we can.”