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Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health orders closures of schools, rec centers, libraries for two weeks

Friday, March 13, 2020 - 7:00pm

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and is working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Douglas County agencies, including Douglas County Emergency Management, city and county governments, schools and universities, health care providers, law enforcement and long-term nursing and skilled-care facilities. These agencies are working to help prevent spread of the disease and keep residents healthy and safe.If you have symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath and believe you may have had contact or have had contact with someone with a laboratory confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), stay home and call your healthcare provider to wait for further direction.On Friday, March 13, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health ordered closures for 14 days of all K-12 schools, recreational facilities and public libraries in Douglas County in an effort to stem the outbreak of coronavirus. Director Dan Partridge said public health is taking this action based on direction from Douglas County Health Officer Dr. Thomas Marcellino who has authority to prohibit public gatherings in the interest of stemming a disease outbreak. The health officer is also prohibiting public gatherings of more than 250 people in Douglas County.The closure order took effect immediately (March 13) and will go until March 29. It applies in Douglas County to:

  • K-12 Schools, public and private
  • Indoor park and recreational facilities
  • The Lawrence Public Library and public libraries in the county
  • All public gatherings in excess of 250 people.

This is an ongoing situation and information is changing rapidly. For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus (COVID-19), visit:

If you have general questions about coronavirus, you can contact KDHE by email at or call 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF), which is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

    KDHE encourages all travelers returning from China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan – countries with widespread transmission – to remain home and avoid large gatherings for 14 days after returning to the United States.

    • Patients without symptoms who have traveled to a country with a CDC travel advisory in the last 14 days should contact Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, 785-856-7305, or the KDHE epidemiology hotline, 1-877-427-7317 or email
    • Patients that are symptomatic (fever and lower respiratory symptoms) and have recent travel to a country with a CDC travel advisory should contact Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health or KDHE immediately. Do not visit a clinic without notifying the clinic first to ensure proper protocols are followed to contain the potential spread of disease. Avoid areas that would include a large gathering of people.

    You can help prevent the spread of any type of flu, virus or illness by taking actions such as:

    • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Covering your cough with a tissue or your sleeve and then washing your hands.
    • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
    • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
    • You might consider alternatives to shaking hands.

      Media Contact

      Karrey Britt, Communications Specialist