Gov. Laura Kelly said today that the rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in Kansas is not acceptable.
Kansas reported 42,612 positive cumulative COVID-19 cases on Monday morning, an increase of 1,564 cases since Friday morning, according to Gov. Kelly. There were three new deaths in the same time.
The more than 40,000 Kansans infected is more than the entire population of the city of Hutchinson, she said at a news conference. Over 2,300 Kansans hospitalized with the virus is the same as if every citizen of Stanton County were in the hospital, she said. If the 450 deaths had been concentrated in one area, the entire city of Axtell would be gone, she said.
“We can’t simply gloss over these historically alarming case numbers, and we can’t ignore the scope or the damage we will face if the coronavirus continues to race through our communities,” Gov. Kelly said.
“We risk even more Kansans catching a virus that can result in long-lasting health problems,” she said. “We risk hospitals reaching their bed capacity, we risk our businesses, we risk our jobs, we risk our schools and worst of all, we risk more Kansans losing their lives.”
She said her administration is exploring every possible route to keep Kansans healthy and keep businesses and schools open, she said.
Gov. Kelly said they are all aware of the heightened risk of community spread if everyone was to vote in person in the general election in November.
She said she met with Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab last week to discuss strategies for safe voting practices. She said he made sure local officials had what they needed in the primary to conduct safe and secure voting.
Schwab is providing each county with two additional ballot drop boxes ahead of the November election, she said.
Also, she said her office of recovery will send county officials a letter letting them know they can use dollars they receive from the CARES Act to increase the number of drop boxes in communities.
“Adding more ballot drop boxes will not only lessen the public health risk that would come from gathering in long lines at polling places, but by sending fewer ballots through the mail would also lessen the burden on the United States post office,” she said.
She encouraged county officials to use a portion of the CARES Act funds to purchase as many ballot drop boxes as they deem necessary.
Wyandotte County reported at 1 p.m. Monday, an increase of 19 cases since Sunday, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 webpage. There is a cumulative total of 5,925 cases. There were no new deaths reported; the total remained at 113.
According to KDHE, Johnson County reported 8,240 positive cases on Monday morning, an increase of 320 since Friday morning.
The University of Kansas Health System reported 36 acute COVID-19 patients today, an increase of nine since Friday, with nine in the intensive care unit and three on ventilators, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at KU Health System. There are an additional 26 patients who are not in the acute stage currently but are still hospitalized.
According to the doctors, who spoke at a news conference, although some patients that are in recovery are better, some may still need more oxygen than they can receive at home. Some may still be weak or need help with nutrition.
Patients may feel weak for 60 to 90 days after COVID-19 and may need oxygen during that time, according to Dr. Hawkinson.
Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System, said COVID-19 is much more serious than the flu. With the flu, 17 to 20 patients is a lot to have in the hospital. “We have three times as many now with COVID,” he said.
Doctors also recommended that people keep their regular appointments, such as dental appointments, because safety measures are being taken in dental offices. People are not getting COVID-19 at dental and medical offices, according to the doctors.
They urged people to continue infection control measures such as social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds and staying home when ill.
Virtual meeting planned
A virtual meeting for Wyandotte County businesses and the UG Health Department on COVID-19 will be held from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, on Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/94693387087.
The toll-free number is 888-475-4499. Reservations for the town hall meeting may be made at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2VH2WVN.
Free testing offered
Free COVID-19 testing is planned from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, at All Saints parish, 811 Vermont Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.
The tests are offered through Swope Health and the Health Equity Task Force.
Free testing also is offered for those who live and work in Wyandotte County from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Unified Government Health Department parking lot at 6th and Ann, Kansas City, Kansas. For more information, call 311.
Pop-up testing was canceled on Monday morning at Oak Ridge Baptist Church because of the weather, according to the UG COVID-19 website. Testing was delayed at the Health Department on Monday.
For more information on who may be tested and what to bring, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19.
Gov. Kelly’s news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/GovLauraKelly/videos/356732891998559.
The KU Health System doctors’ news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/937478896747472
The UG COVID-19 webpage is at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.
The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at http://marc-gis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/1c93961075454558b3bf0dfad014feae.
The Unified Government Health Department is now collecting input on people’s experiences getting tested for COVID-19 in Wyandotte County. The survey is on the UG website at https://us.openforms.com/Form/ea97a450-3d74-4d86-8d1f-6e340d55cf7c.
The UG Health Department sports order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/08132020localhealthofficerorderregardingsports.pdf.
The Wyandotte County school start order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.
Wyandotte County is under a mandatory mask order and is in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. For more information, residents may visit the UG COVID-19 website at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information or call 311 for more information.
The CDC’s COVID-19 web page is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.