Positive COVID-19 cases increase to 261 in Kansas

A map showed the spread of positive COVID-19 cases in Kansas. (KDHE map)

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Kansas increased to 261 on Saturday morning, and in Wyandotte County, to 53, according to figures from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The numbers include five deaths in the state of Kansas, three of which were in Wyandotte County. Two deaths have been reported in Johnson County, which had 80 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, according to the KDHE website.

On Friday, KDHE reported 202 positive cases, showing an increase of 59 cases in one day. Fifty of the positive COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized since the start of this pandemic. The age range statewide is 7 to 95, with a median age of 53.

The Wyandotte County COVID-19 website is reporting 47 positive cases on Saturday, with an additional 38 possible self-reported cases. Twenty-three Wyandotte County patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the website report.

Gov. Laura Kelly earlier on Saturday announced a statewide “stay-at-home” order starting Monday and continuing through April 19. It will be similar to a “stay-at-home” order that started Tuesday in Wyandotte County and continues through April 23.

Private labs have tested 183 of the positive cases in Kansas, while the state’s Kansas Health and Environmental Lab has tested 78 of the cases. Total negative cases for Kansas are at 3,671. It is a positive test rate of 6.6 percent, which is higher than the earlier 4.5 percent test rate.

Other counties with five or more cases include Coffey, 5; Douglas (Lawrence area), 23; Franklin, 6; Leavenworth, 15; Reno, 5; Sedgwick (Wichita area), 33; and Shawnee (Topeka area), 7.

Also on Saturday, the KDHE added two states, Louisiana and Colorado, to the travel quarantine list. Anyone who has traveled there and is returning today, March 27, will need to quarantine for 14 days, according to KDHE. Previously only some counties in Colorado were included.

The quarantine list that was previously announced included anyone who traveled to California, Florida, New York and Washington state on or after March 15; anyone who traveled to Illinois or New Jersey on or after March 23; anyone who traveled on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15; and anyone who traveled internationally on or after March 15.

Those who had close contact with a positive COVID-19 case have been quarantined for 14 days.

The quarantines do not apply to public health, hospital and clinic workers and those who are in “critical infrastructure sectors.”

The Kansas COVID-19 website is at

The UG’s COVID-19 response website is at

COVID-19 information from the CDC is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

The KDHE list of positive COVID-19 cases in Kansas counties. (KDHE chart)
A graph on the Unified Government COVID-19 website showed the increase of positive cases here. (UG COVID-19 website)

Gov. Kelly issues statewide ‘stay-at-home’ order until April 19 for Kansas to limit spread of COVID-19

Gov. Laura Kelly announced on Saturday that a temporary stay-at-home order would be implemented for the entire state of Kansas beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 30, and lasting until at least April 19 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement in Topeka, and carried on the governor’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GovLauraKelly/, the governor announced a “stay-at-home” order similar to the one already in place for Wyandotte, Johnson, Douglas, Leavenworth and Sedgwick counties. Twenty-two other states also have issued temporary “stay-at-home” orders.

Wyandotte County has 47 positive COVID-19 cases and three deaths related to COVID-19 as of Friday, according to information from the Unified Government Health Department. The state of Kansas reported 202 positive COVID-19 cases on Friday morning.

“I know this is hard, and I can’t tell you how much I wish it weren’t necessary,” Gov. 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.”

More than half the state’s population already is under “stay-at-home” orders, she said.

Under this state order, residents will stay home unless going to work at an essential job, or performing an essential task such as obtaining food, medication or other household necessities. Residents may go out to seek medical care, caring for children, pets and family members. Exercising outside is allowed, six feet apart, but the maximum limit of any group is 10.

There are provisions for businesses and their operation in the new order announced today, that are similar, with some differences in the details, from earlier orders in Wyandotte County. While there are essential businesses and functions specifically mentioned in the order, people in nonessential businesses can continue to work at home if they can.

The state order will supersede all local orders, according to the language in the document, meaning that the Wyandotte County “stay-at-home” orders will no longer be in effect on March 30, but are replaced by the state “stay-at-home” orders. The local orders will still be in effect Saturday and Sunday. When the state order ends April 19, the local orders will resume again if there is still time left on them, such as Wyandotte County’s order, which ends April 23.

State health officials on Friday morning reported that positive COVID-19 cases had climbed to 202 in Kansas, and they projected cases to reach about 900 by March 31 in the state, Gov. Kelly noted.

The Wyandotte County order has been in effect since Tuesday, March 24, with an end date of April 23. The local order will continue after the state order is lifted April 19.

The governor said the state’s first position will be to let Kansans monitor themselves with the “stay-at-home” order, but local law enforcement can act concerning those not staying at home.

About 24,000 people have filed for unemployment in Kansas just in the past week, a rate that is about 12 times higher than the past unemployment numbers, Gov. Kelly said. She commended efforts in the federal stimulus and relief legislation passed Friday to help alleviate the needs of those who are unemployed. Also, action has been taken to extend the number of weeks people are eligible for unemployment benefits.

Gov. Kelly said the state will scale up its COVID-19 testing capacity as quickly as possible. She said there are indications that there are positive cases everywhere, not just in Wyandotte, Johnson and Sedgwick counties.

The state is expected to re-evaluate the order around April 19 to see if it should be extended.

Vulnerable hospitals, including rural hospitals, need more time to prepare, and this order is expected to protect those hospitals and their workers by giving them more time, she said, as well as protecting residents from COVID-19.

Kansas has not received as much personal protective equipment from the federal government as it wants, and the state will continue to press the federal government for more equipment, she said.

At the same time, Kansas is working with private companies in the state to produce more protective equipment, she said.

According to the order, no one will need to carry papers or documents saying they are allowed to perform a function or activity. Law enforcement officers are asked to use their discretion and consider the totality of the circumstances as they determine appropriate enforcement action, according to the state order released today.

Also, prior approval is not required for those listed as performing essential functions in the order. “Those who are uncertain whether they perform functions exempted from the prohibitions of the order may email KEFF@ks.gov to determine whether their functions are deemed essential,” the order stated. The order specifically lists the functions that are “essential.”

Gov. Kelly’s “stay-at-home” order, Executive Order No. 20-16, is online at https://governor.kansas.gov/executive-order-no-20-16/.

To see the video of Gov. Kelly’s “stay-at-home” announcement, visit Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GovLauraKelly/.

To see a news release about the governor’s “stay-at-home” order, visit https://governor.kansas.gov/governor-kelly-issues-temporary-statewide-stay-home-order-in-ongoing-effort-to-combat-covid-19/.

More information is on the website of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at https://govstatus.egov.com/coronavirus.

COVID-19 cases in Kansas top 200

Statewide COVID-19 cases in Kansas increased to a total 202 on Friday morning. (KDHE graphic)

Wyandotte County cases increase to 43

COVID-19 cases in Kansas have increased to 202 on Friday morning, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE secretary, said in a news conference on Friday that Kansas is beginning to see COVID-19 spread to more counties throughout the state.

Wyandotte County was reported at 43 cases Friday morning, compared to 34 cases reported Thursday morning, an increase of 13 cases. The total increased to 46 by Friday evening, according to the UG’s website.

The third COVID-19 related death in Wyandotte County was reported Thursday evening.

Johnson County reported 66 cases on Friday morning, as compared to 59 cases on Thursday morning, according to KDHE statistics.

Sedgwick County, including the Wichita area, reported 20 cases Friday morning, while Douglas County, including the Lawrence area, reported 14 cases. Leavenworth County reported 12 cases. Shawnee County had 5 cases.

As expected, the population centers, Johnson, Wyandotte, Douglas and Sedgwick counties, have had the most cases at this point, Dr. Norman said. But it is spreading out now, even into western Kansas, he added.

He said he was hopeful that the peak would be reached by mid-April, perhaps by April 24.

He said residents need to stay home and maintain social distancing. If they do that, then perhaps the coronavirus will peak in mid-April.

“Vigilance needs to remain high,” he said.

He said he saw some residents washing their cars at a car wash in Shawnee County, and that was not a necessary function.

“This is not about gaming the system and playing with the words to skate around the exemptions,” he said. “It’s about staying home and staying out of harm’s way.”

Currently Kansas is not doubling every three ofr four days, which is encouraging, according to Dr. Norman. He would not be surprised if the state had 900 to 1,000 patients eventually. It would be a higher number if the residents do not follow the guidance of staying home and social distancing.

He said some have indicated the changing of the seasons and warmer weather also could contribute to a fall in the disease rate, however, it could be back in the fall.

The state’s lab is getting more equipment this weekend to allow to to test more, he said. Friday’s results showed 135 private lab positive tests and 67 state lab positive tests.

The state lab now is able to handle about 175 specimens a day, he said.

There are efforts underway for more testing in different locations, he said.

KDHE also receive two semis full of protective equipment from the national stockpile and will be able to fill requests from 25 counties for more equipment, he added. The state will soon tap out its entire allotment, and will be looking for ways to get more supplies in the future, including possibly companies that would manufacture it.

At another news teleconference on Friday, doctors at the University of Kansas Health System emphasized the importance of staying home, and they also talked about increasing telehealth visits with patients.

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System, said that Chinese medical professionals have reported that those health care workers who used proper personal protective equipment did not catch COVID-19. He said that was important to know as local health officials now believe they are on the ascending side of the curve in the Kansas City area.

If the Kansas City area has a 5 to 20 percent surge in cases, then they will be well prepared, he said.

“New York got stretched because they had so many people hit so fast,” he said.

The difference in activity rate accounts for some of the larger numbers of New York cases, Dr. Stites believes.

“It’s all about staying at home,” Dr. Stites said. “If people will stay at home,” he said. “then you will flatten the curve and have enough personal protective equipment. If we don’t, we’re all going to suffer the consequences of that.”

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at KU Health System, said there are 18 positive COVID-19 patients currently at the hospital, including 10 in the intensive care unit, and six are incubated.

He said they are stressing training and good hand hygiene. Proper hand hygiene and keeping hands away from the face continue to be effective ways to stop the spread of the disease.

Dr. Keith Sale, vice president of ambulatory services at KU Health System, said the health system is ramping up telemedicine to serve outpatients. They will be able to stay at home and stay safe while still receiving medical advice through video conferences or through other means such as the telephone.

To view the KDHE news conference, with more detailed information, visit https://www.facebook.com/KDHEnews/videos/2275555782749312/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARAexWkbKtwNSgaPu6y0kGFJfA_6ZdhYQPNMKazXT1zvdTDfeNkEAgsUTN11dggTyP202Pq-p_Q969Mi.

To view the KU Health System news conference video, with more detailed information, visit  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqippHdA0zA&feature=youtu.be.

The Kansas COVID-19 website is at

The UG’s COVID-19 response website is at

COVID-19 information from the CDC is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

COVID-19 cases by county in Kansas on March 27. (KDHE chart)