Kansas governor on COVID-19: An ‘alarming trend in the wrong direction'

Governor Laura Kelly discusses reopening plans for schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
Governor Laura Kelly discusses reopening plans for schools for the 2020-2021 school year.(WIBW)
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 2:33 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Gov. Laura Kelly held her weekly news conference Monday afternoon calling it a “bad weekend” for Kansas and COVID-19. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported the state added 1,545 more cases of the coronavirus and seven new deaths.

The governor said its easy to become desensitized to the rise in numbers as they published three times a week, but she called the rise in cases an “alarming trend in the wrong direction.” Every county in the state now has at least one positive case of the virus.

The governor said mass gatherings at six universities and one fraternity have turned into clusters. She said 87 students and two faculty members at the University of Kansas and 13 fraternity members at Kansas State Unversity have tested positive for COVID-19. She also mentioned a Kansas college student that she said has been hospitalized with multisystem inflammatory syndrome. This is a condition said to be related to COVID-19.

As K-12 students in Kansas head back to school, the governor said school will look much different and encouraged schools to follow public health guidelines by implementing wearing masks and sanitation. She also emphasized that children can catch COVID-19. She said while they may remain asymptomatic, they can still spread it to their teachers and family members.

“I encourage parents and community members to lead by example and show our kids why it’s important to wear a mask - in every county, in every community, in every school,” said the governor.

When it comes to fall sports, particularly football, the governor said she doesn’t think now is the time, and it might be better if fall sports were moved to spring when there’s a better chance for a vaccine.

“While I completely understand the desire of both the players and the fans to get back in the stadiums, I don’t believe that this is the time, particularly for high contact sports,” said Gov. Kelly.

During the briefing, the governor also pushed for Kansans to fill out the 2020 census. She said help in the process can be found at

Gov. Kelly also announced her appointment of Carl A. Folsom III to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Steve Leben on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Folsom was rejected by the Kansas Senate for a previous vacancy in May. Gov. Kelly said she has heard from a number of senators who regret the vote that they passed on.

“I fully expect the Senate will do the right thing this time and confirm Folsom. He is qualified for this, he’s a good person, he deserves to be on the court,” she said.

Gov. Kelly did not address her Facebook post calling for police reform following the shooting of a man in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Copyright 2020 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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