There is a safe, scientifically-based plan for the Kansas City region to make a comeback from COVID-19 and keep it contained until there is a vaccine or cure. The plan involves ramping up public testing, building regional contact tracing capacity, and providing resources for supported isolation to make sure that everyone who is sick can self-isolate and everyone who is exposed can quarantine. We need to work together and take a regional approach to implementing this plan, because the virus doesn't recognize state, county, and city boundaries.
Comeback KC’s plan takes lessons from national and global scientific authorities. To reach our goal of 10% testing and decline of new cases, Comeback KC advocates for the following approach.
Countries that have curbed the coronavirus have conducted widespread testing and contact tracing of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. The Kansas City metro area must scale testing infrastructure capable of doing that allows for 150 tests per 100K people per day. That equates to about 2,800 tests per day for the region. Success requires coordination of public and private organizations, including usage of nontraditional partners and furloughed medical and civic professionals. We also recommend the adoption of a shared, region-wide symptom reporting tool to provide health departments with reliable, consistent data collection.
If you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms or if you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive, call your doctor or health department and get tested. You can visit Comeback KC's testing site map to find a testing location near you. You must call ahead and make arrangements before you get tested.
Contact tracing allows public health officials to understand the spread of the virus and lock down areas that are heavily affected. We must use existing and new phone bank assets for manual contact tracing, and recommend that people use the Safe Paths digital contact tracing app for opt-in tracing and notification.
If you test positive for COVID-19, please cooperate with contact tracers from your public health department. They will notify people you've had contact with, so that they can quarantine and possibly get tested. This is a vital step in stopping asymptomatic spread of the virus.
People who are sick with COVID-19 must self-isolate until 10 days have passed since symptoms resolve, and people who have been exposed must quarantine for 14 days. In order to make this part of the plan viable, we strongly recommend that city and county governments implement supported isolation policies, so that everyone who needs to quarantine or self-isolate has the resources to do so. Local health departments are providing food, medical and other support to qualified people in self-isolation.
If you are sick and need to self-isolate or if you have been exposed and need to quarantine and you need help, call 3-1-1 or your local health department to get connected with local support resources.
If everyone in the Kansas City region works together in this way, we can contain the coronavirus, get COVID-19 under control, and keep it under control until there is a vaccine or cure. Through testing, contact tracing, and containment, we can focus on isolating the sick and quarantining people who are exposed. Everyone else will be able to move around with greater freedom, and we'll get our economy back on track in a sustainable way. This is the right way for Kansas City to make our comeback from COVID.
About Comeback KC
Comeback KC is a public/private partnership seeking to craft a unified strategy for how the entire Kansas City region can sustainably return from COVID-19. We are working across regional divisions to ensure that all of our populations come back in a better position than they were before this crisis. Our goal is to assist healthcare officials, public health departments, and public officials in their efforts to allocate resources effectively and efficiently in three areas: testing, contact tracing, and PPE. Together, we will become a model for regional cooperation and collective impact.