Mayor David Alvey has asked residents to tell him their opinions on reopening society.
Those opinions may be sent to the Unified Government website at https://us.openforms.com/Form/4b9766db-40b6-4098-a72c-0262e04df6f9.
Late Thursday, the mayor announced a ReStart WYCO Committee that will provide guidance on how to safely reopen once the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Mayor Alvey said in a video that if Gov. Laura Kelly decides not to extend the state’s stay-at-home order, which goes through May 3, then local communities would decide whether to implement their own stay-at-home orders. Wyandotte County is in discussions with Johnson and Leavenworth counties and Kansas City, Missouri, and nearby Missouri counties to align their orders, he said.
“We will continue to watch the progress of the virus, and we will take whatever measures are necessary to prevent an overload to our health care system,” Mayor Alvey said.
The 25-member committee will not decide when to reopen, but how to safely reopen, according to officials.
The group is expected to look at best practices, and to outline a tiered approach to the relaxation of orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the mayor stated. The mayor urged residents to continue staying at home at the present time.
The “when” question in reopening Wyandotte County will depend on health guidance from Dr. Allen Greiner, Wyandotte County chief medical officer, according to UG officials.
The co-chairs of the ReStart WYCO Committee are Dr. Greiner and UG Commissioner Brian McKiernan. The committee plans a meeting today.
On the committee, besides McKiernan and Greiner, are Mayor David Alvey, Dr. Erin Corriveau (KUMC), David Piece (American Family Insurance), the Rev. Dr. LeAnne De Tar Newbert (Mercy and Truth Safety Net Clinics), Terrie Garrison (UG Health Department), David Wild, (KUMC), Melissa Nead (The Dotte Spot Bar and Grill), Chonita Madison (hair stylist), Mike Benitez (Chips and Coins, Downtown Shareholders), Michael Talboy (Burns and McDonnell), Paul Norbega (Central Solutions, Fairfax Industrial Association), David Staker (Plastic Packaging Technologies), Byron Bowels (MVP Law), Dr. Ricky Turner (Oak Ridge Baptist Church), Dan Brungardt (USD 204), Randy Lopez (Wyandotte Health Foundation), Stacy Scheelk (Legacy Development), Alan Carr (KCK Convention and Visitors Bureau), Greg Kindle (Wyandotte Economic Development Council), Daniel Silva (KCK Chamber of Commerce), Doug Bach (UG), Alley Porter (UG), Ken Moore (UG) and Alan Howze (UG).
For more information about the ReStart WYCO Committee, visit https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/Communicable%20Disease/COVID19/ReStartWYCOCommitteeFormed04232020.pdf.
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd DIst., helped secure additional funding for small businesses, hospitals, health care workers and COVID-19 testing, voting for the “The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act” Thursday.
Rep. Davids has advocated for increased funding for small businesses in the Paycheck Protection Program since before it was rolled out.
“In these unprecedented times, Kansas small business owners need help to pay their workers and keep their businesses afloat. I’ve been pushing Congress to quickly get more resources into these small business relief programs, and I’m glad that we were able to pass a bipartisan bill today to do just that. This bill will also provide vital funding for our hospitals, health care workers and COVID-19 testing, all of which are critical to preventing the spread of this virus and getting Americans safely get back to work. We still have much more work to do to protect the health, safety and financial security of the people in this country and I’ll keep working to help Kansans get through these trying times.” Rep. Davids said.
During a House Small Business Committee hearing Thursday, Rep. Davids highlighted the challenges faced by small businesses and workers in the Kansas Third and the need to build upon this bill.
See video at https://www.dropbox.com/s/rrz3oj8u0rag2wx/Rep.%20Davids.mp4?dl=0
She also announced her support for bipartisan legislation to further extend the Paycheck Protection Program by providing an additional $900 billion in funding.
Among other measures, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provides:
• For small businesses: Strengthens the Paycheck Protection Program with $310 billion in additional funding, with $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions and $30 billion for medium-sized banks and credit unions.
• For hospitals and health care workers: Secures $75 billion to provide resources to the frontlines, including Personal Protective Equipment.
• For all Americans: Provides $25 billion for testing, which is the key to stopping the spread of this virus and moving towards reopening the economy.
by Mary Rupert
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran said today that more federal funding will go toward testing for COVID-19, including $21 million for more testing in Kansas.
He also discussed funding for small businesses. Congress recently passed a replenishment of the Paycheck Protection Program fund, where the Small Business Administration guarantees loans to small businesses of less than 500 people, he said.
Kansas received $4.28 billion in nearly 27,000 businesses in the first phase, keeping 427 jobs in the state, he said.
Sen. Moran said the money in the first fund was utilized rapidly, the funds were depleted, and the House on Thursday passed legislation adding $310 billion. This is generally an economic bill, having the effect of people allowed to keep their jobs and remain at home, while not having to be at work to receive the wage, he said.
Sen. Moran made his remarks at a news conference Friday morning sponsored by the University of Kansas Health System.
Also, $75 billion more will go to hospitals and another $25 billion will be directed toward testing, Sen. Moran said.
This legislation will provide $21 million to Kansas to increase testing to accomplish the goal of broader testing in Kansas, Sen. Moran said.
Also this week, the Department of Health and Human Services provided the second part of funding from the original $100 billion, and it has been enhanced by another $75 billion, he said. This payment will be based more on Medicaid reimbursement than Medicare reimbursement, he said.
Sen. Moran said his focus for the last few weeks has been making the PPP program available to all hospitals, and unfortunately, the public hospitals in counties, districts and cities have been excluded. He is still lobbying on this topic to make sure some hospitals are not being left out in being able to continue to pay their employees, he added.
Dr. Jessica Kalender-Rich, a doctor of general and geriatric medicine, said they have seen a lot of efforts to ramp up the ways in which residents of nursing homes are protected.
She said they are working hard to provide residents with therapy and what they need, in addition to using a lot of personal protective equipment around them that was not always used in the past because it was not always indicated. Residents are more isolated than usual, with visitors not allowed in nursing homes. She said in many cases, residents have been taught to use iPads and Facetime to connect with their loved ones. Some of the homes allow visits to persons who are at the end of life, she added.
Dr. Kalendar-Rich serves on the Wyandotte County task force recently formed on nursing homes. They are developing guidelines, taking guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help facilities create their own policies to protect residents.
She said there is currently testing for COVID-19 in nursing homes for patients who have symptoms, based on the availability of testing supplies and also on the opportunity to get out there and do those tests. She said that will probably change over time.
When there is a positive test, then there is an opportunity to test the entire building, she said. The guidance on that is not fully developed yet at the county level, but that is what they have seen in other parts of the country, she said.
The Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage at 10:15 a.m. Friday reported 518 positive COVID-19 cases in Wyandotte County, with 48 deaths. It was an increase of 28 cases from Thursday evening, and an increase of one death since Thursday.
On Friday, the KU Health System had 24 COVID-19 patents hospitalized, with 11 in the intensive care unit, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System. He said some patients continue to get well, with one moved off intubation on Thursday.
Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System, said the area has done a good job of flattening the curve. As society opens up again, the next big challenge is to keep it that way. It’s about personal responsibility, he said. Residents need to make sure they keep six feet of distance, practice good hygiene, and those who are sick shouldn’t go out.
The UG’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.
The Kansas COVID-19 resource page is at https://govstatus.egov.com/coronavirus.
Information from the CDC is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/.
To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email email@example.com.