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Kansas reports 942 new COVID-19 cases, 9 new deaths as Contact Tracing Act takes effect

The new law makes participation in contact tracing voluntary
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Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 1:25 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Kansas reported 942 news cases of COVID-19 since Wednesday, bringing the new total of 27.812 cases in 103 counties. The state also reported nine new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 358. The youngest death remains 20 years old.

The percentage of tests coming back positive is up to 10.1% from 9.2% on Thursday.

There were 51 new hospitalizations bringing the total to 1,751. When it comes to ventilators, 86% are now available, up from 84% on Friday. Twenty-six are being used on COVID-19 patients. Of the 946 ICU beds available, 610 are in use and 98 are being occupied by patients with COVID-19. This information is based on 114 hospitals reporting statewide.

The data comes as a state law set to take effect Friday would make it voluntary for a person to participate in contact tracing. Kansas Department of Secretary Dr. Lee Norman called the law “problematic,” and said, “testing and contact tracing go hand in hand.”

“The language passed in HB 2016 will undoubtedly slow our ability to do contact tracing and stop the spread of COVID-19 at a time when we are classified by the White House as a red zone for infections and spread,” Dr. Norman told the Kansas Reflector.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt recommended the language for the bill. He said the law would protect citizens’ privacy and civil liberties during the pandemic by tightly regulating “contact tracing.” The new law is temporary only through April 2021 to give the legislature time to review how contact tracing should be regulated.

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