Gov. Kelly, KDHE to Kansans: 'Stay home and save lives'

(KWCH/AP) Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The State of Kansas is now reporting 482 cases of the novel coronavirus in 41 counties, including 64 in Sedgwick County. Ten people have died from COVID-19 in Kansas, including a Sedgwick County man.

Both Gov. Laura Kelly and Dr. Lee Norman, the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said social distancing remains key.

The state uses a GPS program, called Unacast, to track how people move. Norman said on Monday, Kansans received a "B" but that grade slid to a "C" by Wednesday. The data gives 45 counties, an "F."

"We just need to uniformly as a state across Kansas get serious about travel that we're doing and decrease, just stay at home," said Norman.

Gov. Kelly enacted a statewide stay at home order on Monday, two days later, she said moving in Kansas is "starting to ratchet back up."

"That's exactly what we can't have happen. We are trying very hard to bend this curve, and we won't be able to do it if Kansans don't cooperate - if they just stay home and really reduce that number," said the governor.

Health officials say social distancing is necessary especially as testing remains in short supply. In Kansas, getting the swabs to do the testing is the struggle.

Norman said the state is getting a new product to perform a 45-minute rapid test and could soon have up to 64,000 test kits. The large throughput would allow "hot spots" in Kansas to conduct population studies. Dr. Norman said out of all the positive tests in the state of Kansas, 78% have come from six counties.

"It's very clear we need to do population studies, meaning testing people who are well. Whether it's through a drive-thru and we're working with Johnson County to set one of those up but the limiting factor has been the number of test kits and swabs. but that will allow us to do very fundamental work which is pushing analysis upstream, preventing people from becoming ill from it," said Norman.

Like most states, Kansas is still struggling to get all of the personal protective equipment it needs. Dr. Norman said the state is looking for alternatives, but not everything may meet the standards they need. Right now, health officials are looking at UV and gas sterilization so healthcare workers can re-use masks and gowns.

"We're working every supply chain from the state and federal level to see if we can increase PPE. We do not want our caregivers and our first responders to lose confidence in their ability to be protected," he said.

To date, nearly 6,000 tests have been run in Kansas to diagnose COVID-19. Of those tests, 5,411 have come back negative. More than 150 of those who test positive for the disease have been hospitalized. Patients range in age from 0 to 95 years old.

Remember, social distancing, good hand hygiene, and staying home when ill are the best prevention methods.
Monday, March 30, 2020- 1:04 p.m.

The State of Kansas now reports 368 cases of the novel coronavirus and eight deaths, including the newly reported cases in Sedgwick and Crawford counties.

Read more: March 30, 2020 COVID-19 Public Update

Dr. Lee Norman, the Secretary of the Kansas Health Department and Environment, addressed the uptick in COVID 19 cases.

He said the two latest deaths include a woman in her 40s from Crawford County and a man over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions in Sedgwick County. Test results confirmed he had COVID-19 last week and he was hospitalized

Norman said the average stay in the hospital is 10 days and 14 days for patients in ICU. Patients range in age from 4 to 95 years old, with a median age of 55.

The secretary said it was projected that Kansas would have 300 to 400 cases of coronavirus by the end of March. We are currently at 368 confirmed cases as of March 30. He said he still predicts the peak date for the state will be April 24.

"We will get through this in April, there's no question about that. It's not going to be any fun, I admit, and I think what we expect to see is the number of cases will die down in the summer, spring into summertime but we are pretty sure that we will see a recurrence in the fall," said Dr. Norman.

He said by that time, he expects doctors will be able to spot the virus early and isolate people early.


Kansas currently has a two-week supply of test kits, according to Dr. Norman.

He said one piece of equipment came in and another is coming that will increase the state's capacity to do 700 to 1,000 tests a day. New testing methods including a rapid 45-minute test that comes with 65,000 test kits should also been in by the end of the week.

Not only would this allow for more testing, but Norman said it would help to better pinpoint who has the disease is and where it is prevalent.

"What this kind of testing capacity will allow us to do is do population studies and from a public health perspective, that's what we want to do, which is beyond just diagnosing an illness in a sick person and the people around that person. It allows us to take it to the next step which is to have distributed testing capabilities around the state, testing people who are well or might be shedding the virus," Dr. Norman said.

The KDHE lab is now only covering about 28-percent of the tests performed. The other 72-percent are coming from commercial labs.

"That has taken a tremendous burden off of us, but, we are still in this area in the state of Kansas, still focused on finding out if someone is ill is it coronavirus," said Dr. Norman.

Stay-at-Home order

He said every person who gets COVID-19 will infect 4.64 other people, driving up the rate. He said if people keep from going out, that will reduce the doubling time from three days to six days.

"This is not a game about trying to skirt around the exceptions in the executive order. This is about staying home," said Dr. Norman.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has set up a hotline for questions regarding COVID-19.

That number is: 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF). It is available during the following hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.


Sunday, March 29, 2020- 1:04 p.m.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says there are now 319 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six deaths in Kansas.

Johnson County now has (101) confirmed coronavirus cases, Wyandotte (55) and Sedgwick (42).

Sunday, March 29, 2020- 12:32 p.m.

Montgomery County is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday afternoon.

The Montgomery County Health Department reported the two new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number to three in the county.

According to health officials, these cases involve two individuals with a travel history.

Saturday, March 28, 2020- 8:50 p.m.

Coffey, Lyon and Stafford counties are reporting new cases of COVID-19 Saturday night.

The Coffey County Health Department reported three new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number to eight in the county.

According to health officials, the patients were a 86 year-old man and two women, 20 and 67-years-old.

All three patients are under isolation in accordance with guidelines from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Lyon County reported two new cases of coronavirus. There are now six cases in the county.

Health officials confirmed the first case of the virus in Stafford County. The patient is a man in his 30s and currently in home isolation.

There will be no more information released about the patient.

Saturday, March 28, 2020- 5:43 p.m.

Health officials confirm an eighth positive case of COVID-19 in Reno County.

The Reno County Health Department says the patient is a woman in her 60s. She is currently at home in self-quarantine.

No more information about the patient will be released.

Saturday, March 28, 2020- 5 p.m.

Finney County confirmed its first positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Saturday.

St. Catherine Hospital reported the case. The patient is currently not being hospitalized. No other information about the patient will be released to the public.

The health department says they're working with community partners to inform, equip, screen, and test citizens.
Saturday, March 28, 2020

Health officials confirm 33 cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Sedgwick County, bringing the total number in the state to 261.

Related: Gov. Laura Kelly announces statewide stay-at-home order

On Saturday, Sedgwick County said the number of cases in the state have increased from 202 to 261, including five people who've died.

The health department is planning to establish a drive thru site to sample/ swab residents to be tested for COVID-19. As information for this becomes available, it will be shared.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a statewide order Saturday for people to stay-at-home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.


Kelly issued the stay-at-home order for the state's roughly 2.9 million residents after local officials in Kansas' most populous counties issued their own versions within the past week. It lasts through April 19.

“I know this is hard, and I can’t tell you how much I wish it weren’t necessary,” Kelly said. “But we have a small window to ensure that Kansas does not suffer the same terrible fate of other hard-hit states like New York and Missouri. We’ve all got to do our part to help stop the spread of the disease. Stay home. Stay Safe.”

The governor’s order will replace the current Sedgwick County stay-at-home-order which began March 25.

Sedgwick County defines community spread as five or more cases not related to travel. Right now, health officials say there is community spread in the county. If residents have general questions about COVID-19 or if they think they need to be tested for it, they can call United Way of the Plains at 211.

To help "flatten the curve" and reduce transmissions in our area, health officials recommend the following:

• Practice social distancing and maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and anyone else.

• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention. Call your health provider or the United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline in advance.

If you are a business and would like to offer support/ donate to keep public safety and healthcare workers safe, the county is seeking the following:

• Protective face masks: N-95 or surgical masks

• Non-latex, medical gloves

• Hand sanitizer

• Surface cleaners

• Non-permeable/fluid resistant gowns

• Nasopharyngeal specimen collection – swab and viral transport medium

Anyone interested in donating, can contact Sedgwick County Emergency Management at (316) 660-5959.