The McDonald’s on Wyatt Earp Boulevard shut down its doors this week as two employees were confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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The McDonald’s on Wyatt Earp Boulevard shut down its doors this week as two employees were confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus.


According to owner/operator Jamie Kuehl, the two employees are currently under medical care.


"Our highest priority is to protect the health and well-being of our people," Kuehl said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily closed the restaurant at 703 West Wyatt Earp Blvd. while a deep clean is performed and to ensure all employees are healthy.


"We expect to re-open the restaurant with limited hours later this week. As we re-open, we are committed to conducting daily wellness checks with all employees, continuing restaurant deep cleanings, providing masks and gloves to all employees, in addition to adhering to social distancing guidelines and enhanced hygiene procedures."


McDonald’s remains in constant contact with its employees and continues to provide support at this time.


"Our people are the heart and soul of the McDonald’s family," Kuehl said. "We are keeping these employees in our thoughts for a fast and full recovery."


The second McDonald’s location, also owned and operated by Kuehl, at 2613 Central Ave., is still operational and is part of the McDonald's corporate initiative to assist the community, particularly, first responders and health care frontline workers.


According to McDonald's public relations manager Christopher Stanley, on Wednesday and running through May 5, the Central Avenue McDonald's restaurant among many others across the country will be giving away free "Thank You Meals" via drive-thru and carryout.


By simply showing a work badge, each meal will be served in the Happy Meal box and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.


"As local business owners, we know that our communities need us now more than ever and we’re committed to continuing to serve them," said Kuehl. "We are proud to be able support our neighbors who are on the front lines as first responders and healthcare workers with Thank You Meals."


As of last week, McDonald's has donated close to $3.1 million in food support to local communities.


In partnership with Food Donation Connection, McDonald's has donated 3 million pounds of food, including dairy, produce and fruit to local charities and food banks to families in need.


In Dodge City, McDonald’s owner/operators distributed more than 2,500 free kid’s meals over the Easter holiday to ensure kids would have access to food.


According to Stanley, McDonald’s has implemented nearly 50 new safety measures to ensure the well-being of its employees, and continuing to explore additional safety steps in accordance with guidance issued by local and national health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Wednesday cases update


The Kansas Department of Health and Environment report showed Ford County reached 208 cases on Wednesday. The hospitalization number remains at two with zero deaths.


As frustrations continue to escalate because of the rapid increase of local cases, the message still remains to be ignored.


On the Ford County Facebook page, a person commented on today's increase saying, "This is going to keep happening unfortunately because there’s some people that just don’t care. For Example, a gentleman my husband works with was sent home yesterday because over the weekend him and his family decided to have a birthday party for his sister who by the way has tested positive and was tested positive at before the birthday party but still decided to have 30 people over to celebrate her birthday because she was feeling better."


However, despite frustrations, testing for the coronavirus in Ford County reached 410 tests, a rise from 376 tests conducted on Tuesday.


To slow the spread of the virus, the need to do so comes down to the individual person.


"A lot of this is personal responsibility, so if we're taking precautions to social distance and take proper hygiene care and protect ourselves, that will help overall," Ford County administrator J.D. Gilbert said.


Regarding the non-congregate housing shelters for those infected in four Kansas counties including Ford County, KDHE said the project is still in the planning phase at this time.


In terms of if there will be a tabulation for cases that have recovered, KDHE communications director Kristi Zears said, "Not at this time. We hope to include in the future. It would fall to local health department to track and many of them are overburdened right now.


"There are some that have started including it in their own numbers, which is a great start and we’re hopeful this can be added soon."


The number of cases in the state reached 2,211 cases with 432 hospitalizations, 110 deaths and 17,992 negative tests conducted.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.