Funerals tied to at least 40 cases of coronavirus in Shawnee County, health officials say

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – More than 40 cases of coronavirus have been tied to funerals in Shawnee County, area health officials said Tuesday.

As of Monday there have been 41 cases including 1 death linked to funerals in the area, according to the Shawnee County Health Department. These cases include residents who traveled to Shawnee County from five different counties. While they are working to lower these numbers, health officials are asking the public to try some safety measures from the Center for Disease Control to lessen the chance of spread while holding memorial services. 

  • Use technology to connect virtually with family and friends during the grieving process. 
  • Consider limiting attendance at funerals held shortly after the time of death to a small number of immediate family members and friends, and then holding additional memorial services when social distancing guidelines are less restrictive. 
  • Practice social distancing between attendees, facility staff and clergy or officiants when small, in-person services are held. 
  • Consider modifications to funeral rites and rituals: avoid touching the deceased person’s body or personal belongings or other ceremonial objects to make sure of everyone’s safety. 
  • Wear cloth face coverings while around others.

Shawnee County Health Director Linda Ochs said these safety measures can help keep loved ones safe during the mourning process.

“We must stay diligent with conducting our own personal risk assessments when attending events such as funerals and larger family gatherings,” Och said. “As always please continue to practice social distancing when possible, wear a mask when able to help lessen the spread of the virus and use every day preventative measures. And most of all – if you are sick, do not attend a funeral, and contact your primary care provider.”

Alongside the funeral recommendations, health officials reminded the public that steps like washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoiding touching the face or eyes can help reduce chances of contracting the virus.

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