Gov. Laura Kelly today pledged to work toward developing a strategy for taking action in Kansas on racial inequities.
“Racial inequality is not new,” Gov. Kelly said at a news conference. “The outrage and protests unleashed across the nation last weekend were not sparked solely by police brutality. Institutional racism exists throughout our society, our economy and our laws.”
She said it was time for elected leaders in Kansas to acknowledge they had failed to give this problem the attention it deserves.
“It’s time that we listen to those voices in our marginalized communities, speak out against injustice, and actively address the roots of these issues in our neighborhoods, our workplaces and in our public institutions,” Gov. Kelly said.
She also said the vast majority of law enforcement officers grieve with them, and they are just as outraged by the shocking tactics used in Minneapolis. She said Kansas law enforcement is ready to work with them to create and implement solutions to make communities safer.
She said she has instructed her team to develop a strategy on how to take action in earnest in Kansas.
“I pledge to Kansans, especially Kansans of color, that I will not allow these injustices to fade into the next media cycle,” she said. “We’re going to have these tough conversations in our state, we’re going to confront these painful issues, and we’re finally going to treat this as if lives depend on it, because they do.”
Also, Gov. Kelly said that on Tuesday, the executive committee of the SPARK recovery task force will meet for the first time. They will outline priorities for the office through the end of 2020.
The task force will review the federal CARES Act, including information on the major sources of funding, federal spending guidelines and additional grant programs with funding opportunities. They will discuss allocations to local governments.
In addition, Gov. Kelly said a special Kansas Legislature session begins Wednesday. Last week she vetoed a bill that would have made changes to the Kansas Emergency Management Act. She said the bill had some sensible parts, but was “laden with problems.”
She said she is more encouraged today that they would sort things out, and there have been good-faith efforts on both sides.
At the news conference, Dr. Lee Norman, Kansas secretary of health, said Kansas passed the 10,000 mark in positive COVID-19 cases.
Kansas reported 10,011 cases from 88 counties with 217 deaths on Monday. It was an increase of 292 cases since Friday. There were nine more deaths since Friday, he said.
“We’re doing well in the state of Kansas,” Dr. Norman said.
Hospitalization and death rate per capita, along with disease spread, have improved.
Thirteen counties are not demonstrating improving trend lines, and the remainder of the counties are improving trend lines, he said.
In four counties with meatpacking plants, the rate of increases are slowing down, he said. Johnson, Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Sedgwick also are on the improving trend line, he said.
It shows if people are attentive, they will show improvement, he added.
Kansas saw its first daycare cluster, in Ford County, he said, where two persons tested positive.
The state has received a third shipment of remdesivir, he said.
Dr. Norman said during the past weekend, 300 tests were done on Lansing Correctional Facility, with a 6 percent positive rate. They were all asymptomatic, he added. Formerly, testing was running more than half positive. He said it shows COVID-19 has been brought under containment there. The case mortality rate is very low, he added.
They are closely monitoring to see any increases in clusters, he said. With parties at the Lake of the Ozarks and other parties, gatherings and protests, they will have to be very vigilant on the spread of COVID-19.
“Stay at home, wear a mask, wash hands often, practice social distancing,” Dr. Norman said.
The governor’s news conference is online at https://www.facebook.com/GovLauraKelly/videos/756923598381378/?v=756923598381378.
The UG’s COVID-19 information page is at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.
Wyandotte County is currently under the state’s Phase 2 plan at covid.ks.gov.
The state plan’s frequently asked questions page is at https://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Reopening-FAQ_5.19.2020_Final.pdf.
Additional guidelines from the governor’s office about Phase 2 are at https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/Communicable%20Disease/COVID19/AdAstraUpdate519.pdf.
The CDC’s COVID-19 web page is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.