Kansas has 552 COVID-19 cases
Wyandotte County reported 108 positive COVID-19 cases at 4:50 p.m. April 2, with one additional death, according to the Unified Government website.
It brought the total number of deaths in Wyandotte County to five, the UG’s COVID-19 website stated. According to the UG, the fifth death was a woman in her 60s who died on April 1.
Kansas reported 552 positive cases with a total 13 deaths statewide about 11 a.m. April 2, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website.
The KDHE reported three additional deaths in Kansas since the April 1 count. Kansas now has 44 counties with at least one positive case.
Johnson County reported 161 cases, according to the KDHE. Johnson County reported one additional death since April 1, and now has a total four deaths, according to the Johnson County Health Department website. The county reported 144 cases on April 1.
According to the KDHE website, there were 138 hospitalizations statewide, with 6,059 negative tests reported. There were 685 lab tests in Wyandotte County, the website stated.
There were 40 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wyandotte County, the UG’s website stated.
Today, Gov. Laura Kelly, at a news conference, continued to urge residents to stay home and stay safe to stop the spread of COVID-19. A statewide stay-home order is in effect through April 19. Wyandotte County has a stay-home order that is effective from when the state’s order expires, through April 24.
Gov. Kelly also said today the Kansas Department of Revenue is waiving penalty and interest on first quarter 2020 estimated tax payments made after April 15, but on or before July 15, 2020. It applies to individual income tax, corporate income tax and privilege tax.
Unemployment filings now over 79,000 in Kansas
Gov. Kelly said the pandemic has caused a great loss of jobs in Kansas, and a surge of unemployment claims that has overwhelmed the state Department of Labor’s online system for applying for and receiving benefits.
Kansas Labor Secretary Delia Garcia said there were roughly 10 million persons filing for unemployment benefits at the national level, as of today’s figures, and Kansas has 79,353 unemployment claims currently. She said the nation has not seen this sort of unemployment recently; it’s worse than the 2008 recession.
Gov. Kelly said the state Department of Labor was overwhelmed with 877,000 phone calls on Monday, and the state now has brought in help to provide more capacity. Amazon web services is now contracting with the state to provide more service.
Also, the state has transferred some employees from other departments to help with the calls, she said. Retired workers also have been asked to come back.
The governor asked those who could use the internet to file electronically on www.gotkansasbenefits.gov. The phone lines are reserved for those who don’t have the internet, for non-English speakers, military service members and those who recently moved to the state.
Also, the governor urged residents not to hang up on the phone line and call back again, as that will put them at the back of the line.
Garcia urged self-employed people to apply, as well as other workers who are unemployed. The federal legislation will include funds for self-employed people, but they have to go through a process of applying, and being denied in order to qualify for it.
Garcia said the state’s jobless trust fund is solvent, with about $1 billion in it, and they thought it would have lasted until February 2021, but they’re not sure at the present how long the funds will last.
The governor said the state buildings are not being reopened, but more state employees will begin working remotely from home on Monday as more state operations resume.
Also, Gov. Kelly said the state has submitted more than six orders to the federal government for hundreds of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment such as gowns and masks since mid-March. While the orders were received and approved, the state has not received any of the equipment, she said. She said all the states are facing the same problems.
“The federal system really was not prepared for this, they didn’t have the stockpiles on hand to meet the demands when the demands came in,” she said. “And then, quite honestly, whatever system they had, the delivery isn’t working.”
“When this pandemic began in China should have been the time that we were looking very, very closely at what we had on hand at the federal level and prepared a system for distribution to the states, because it was clear from the get-go that this was going to be a global problem,” Gov. Kelly said at the news conference. “We just didn’t take it seriously enough soon enough, and I think we’re all paying the price for that now.”
Questions were raised about civil rights being violated through the tracking of cell phone data to find out if an area’s residents are complying with the stay-home order. Gov. Kelly said this is not the state’s program, the state doesn’t contract with those who are doing the tracking, and they were just seeing the reports online like anyone else. She believed it helped the state get an idea of areas where people are following the stay-home order, and areas where they are not. It doesn’t identify any individuals.
Wyandotte County got a “B-” on that cell tracking scoreboard, showing that activity has been reduced since before the stay-home orders went into effect. According to the website, the county had a 25 to 40 percent decrease in average mobility based on distance traveled, and greater than 70 percent decrease in nonessential visits. (See https://www.unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard)
The governor also explained that the state’s stay-home order, which allows trips to grocery stores and hardware stores, was not supposed to be an opportunity to browse around for a long time in stores. It was meant for people to go and pick up their essentials and then leave.
KU doctors urge people to maintain social distancing
The University of Kansas Hospital had 36 positive COVID-19 patients on Thursday, with 14 patients on ventilators, according to hospital officials. There are 48 inpatients waiting for test results.
“Nothing bugs me more than to go out and drive around one of the parks, see people congregating together, walking together, acting like it’s a normal day,” Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer of the University of Kansas Health System, said. “It is not a normal day. This is a pandemic.”
He urged residents to stay at home, stay safe and socially distance. “It works,” he said.
Some areas are slowing the rate of the rise by social distancing, he said. The evidence is compelling that social distancing and staying at home is slowing the rate of the virus, he said. It could reduce the duration of the crisis and the number of days that the stay-home orders are in effect, he added.
Rural areas, according to the doctors, are staying in touch with the KU Health System and receiving regular updates. Telemedicine may be a silver lining in this crisis, according to Dr. Stites.
To see the governor’s news conference, with more information available, visit https://www.facebook.com/GovLauraKelly.
To see the KU doctors’ news conference, with more information available, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=037YfXEF0Kw&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.