Two people from Leavenworth County have died as a result of COVID-19. But the county health officer admits he thought the death toll in the county would be higher.

“My expectations were much higher than that at the point we are right now,” County Health Officer Jamie Miller said.

He spoke Wednesday during a virtual town hall meeting hosted by the mayor of Leavenworth.

When he spoke Wednesday, only one COVID-19 death had been reported in Leavenworth County. A second death was reported on Friday,

“I believe Leavenworth County did a good job of getting ahead of the curve,” Miller said.

If mitigation plans had not been implemented early, Miller said there likely would have been more COVID-19 hot spots in the county.

“Social distancing is so important,” he said.

He said community buy-in is necessary.

“It is really up to the community to do the right thing, and the right thing really in this is to social distance, stay at home if you don’t need to go out,” he said.

Miller said he applauds people who have been doing the right thing.

“The more that we can social distance, the quicker we’re going to get through this,” he said.

Miller’s comments came during what was Leavenworth Mayor Mike Griswold’s fifth town hall meeting. The mayor has been hosting the town hall meetings on a weekly basis. The meetings are live-streamed on the city of Leavenworth’s Facebook.

The coronavirus outbreak has been the focus of all of the meetings.

Miller said the mitigation efforts for COVID-19 in the county have been progressive.

“And we’re probably going to have to see a progression on the way down,” he said.

He said trying to open everything back up immediately could result in a second wave of COVID-19 cases. He likened this to driving from the top of a hill in an 18-wheeler with no brakes.

Kansans remains under a statewide stay-at-home order. The statewide order was scheduled to end Sunday. But Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday that she will be extending the order into early May.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR