No lockdown, shelter-in-place orders for state of Kansas

In a press conference Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis said he hopes the first COVID-19 mobile...
In a press conference Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis said he hopes the first COVID-19 mobile testing site will be open Friday morning in Broward County. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 3:49 PM CDT
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As the number of coronavirus cases grow statewide, so do the rumors about what it means for Kansans.

Tweets like one from the Kansas National Guard seem to be fueling those claims.

It says… "It is prepared to support state and local agencies responding to covid19 in order to protect Kansans. Currently, 15 soldiers and airmen are working with partners to provide logistical support."

The Kansas Adjutant General’s Department issued a statement on Friday regarding the response.

"The National Guard is a unique military component with both a state and federal mission," Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, said. "Our more than 6,500 Guardsmen and women live and work in the communities we serve.

"One of the primary missions of the Kansas National Guard is to protect the health and safety of Kansans," Tafanelli said. "Currently, there are seven Soldiers and 14 Airmen on State Active Duty in Topeka who are providing logistics support to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. These Soldiers and Airmen are supporting the State Emergency Operations Center and the Joint Operations Center in order to prepare to support local authorities."

"I am proud of the work these men and women do as citizen-soldiers and airmen - especially in the face of emergencies that threaten Kansans," Governor Laura Kelly said. "They live and work in our communities, and yet always are prepared when called to duty - whether at the state or federal level. For that, they all deserve our support and praise. They also share my highest priority, which is to protect the safety and well-being of all Kansans."

The men and women of the Kansas National Guard provide a strong skillset that can be drawn upon to support local and state missions in response to the COVID-19 virus if called upon to do so.

The Kansas National Guard is one of many resources available to support counties as needed. The National Guard supports state emergency missions through the established process used by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

"These are historic times," Tafanelli said, "and our guardsmen are ready to help Kansans mitigate the effects of this coronavirus outbreak as they have done for all other natural disasters that have impacted Kansas such as wildland fires, tornadoes and flooding."

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay shared a post on his Facebook page with the following message:

"There are no state or local orders for you to shelter in place - and we have not been notified about a plan to enact any. While a few are over buying food and supplies, we have no food shortages and have strong supply sources to meet our needs. Most importantly, while there is no state or local shelter in place orders - limit your exposure to others and help slow the spread of the virus....."

Dr. Lee Norman, secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday afternoon, even with the growing number of COVID-19 cases a lockdown isn't necessary at this time.

"Do 3 million people need to shelter in place in Kansas? We're not there yet," he said during his tri-weekly briefing on the virus spread.

The Kansas City, Kan. Police Department also shared a Facebook post Friday to quash rumors concerning implementation of "martial law" in the state:

Hey folks - please read this. People are starting rumors and we aren't fond of the gossipy kind. Spreading rumors is dangerous because it confuses good people and causes undue panic. Today, that rumor is that the National Guard will soon be deployed to impose Martial Law. To that we say, NOPE. This simply IS NOT true. Members of the Kansas National Guard are busy planning the distribution of medical supplies recently received from the Strategic National Stockpile and other logistics for aiding in the campaign against COVID-19.The Guard is working to relieve pressure on local communities in the same way they would after a tornado, floor or other natural disaster. That's great news! That could mean the transport of medical supplies from a clandestine location to hospitals all over the state, as well as the collection and delivery of test samples. Folks - please, don't believe everything you hear.

Eyewitness News' Braxton Jones is working on this story for tonight at 9 and 10. He is reaching out to the National Guard for further information on its response to support emergency management.