Johnson County man with local history dies of COVID-19

A Johnson County Kansas man who died as a result of COVID-19 has local ties.

The Kansas City Star reports that Dennis Wilson, of Lenexa who was in his 70s, died Saturday morning just five days after tests confirmed he had COVID-19.

Wilson was a graduate of Fort Scott High School in southeast Kansas. He studied biology at Pittsburg State University and at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as well as school administration at the University of Kansas.

A teacher and principal, he later served as superintendent of Labette County USD 506 in southeast Kansas and Lamar R-1 School District in Missouri.

Throughout the past week, Joanna Wilson had provided detailed updates on her husband’s condition on Facebook. She said he had gone to an urgent care clinic on March 12 after having flu-like symptoms and not feeling well for about a week. He was told to go home, she said, drink plenty of fluids and rest. The next night, she wrote, he went to a different urgent care clinic. After testing negative for influenza A and B, she said, he was sent home again and told to drink fluids and rest.

Wilson had more energy last Sunday, his wife wrote, but by 9 that night had become short of breath. When it got worse, she took him to AdventHealth in Lenexa at midnight, and a chest X-ray showed he had bilateral pneumonia. Joanna Wilson said even though the doctor suspected he had COVID-19, her husband did not meet the criteria for testing.

At 4 a.m. Monday, Wilson was taken by ambulance to the AdventHealth Shawnee Mission campus in Overland Park. Joanna Wilson said after she arrived at the hospital, she was told she could not enter and had to be quarantined at her home for two weeks.

She was allowed to see her husband for five hours on Tuesday.

On Saturday evening, she posted a devastating update. Her husband’s condition had been worsening every day, she wrote, and when she’d gotten up in the morning, she called the hospital to check on him. The doctor wanted to talk to the family, she was told, and if she could gather the children in the parking lot he would come out. But just as she was ready to head out the door, she said, the nurse called and told her that her husband had died.