Covid-19 Kansas Response – June 19, 2020

The calls with Gov. Laura Kelly have moved from weekly to every two weeks. They’re also a little shorter, with less input from different agencies. This likely indicates a move away from a developing emergency, to a more sustained recovery.

Dr. Lee Norman – KDHE 

Dr. Norman said the trend line is moving the wrong way, and this is the first time he’s had to say that since the height of things several months ago. Kansas now has 12,059 cases, an increase 378 cases since Wednesday. We have 254 deaths, up 7 from Wednesday. “The slope of the line has changed,” Dr. Norman said. “Had favorable downward slope toward the end of May, the slope is now going the wrong direction. We’ve begun upticking again.”

He said that relates to increased activity, and that people are letting their guard down. 

“The trend line is going the wrong direction. We know it’s because people are letting their guard down,” he said. “There are some related to protests, some related to Lake Perry and Lake of the Ozarks, but it’s mostly because we’re letting our guard down.” He still suggests that we wash our hands often, wear masks, social distance, and avoid mass gatherings. 

There have been 178 clusters – 87 inactive and 81 active. These account for 50% of cases. ¾ of the deaths. Largest have been in corrections, long term care facilities, meatpacking and private industry. Dr. Norman pointed out that while clusters account for 50 percent of cases, there’s not a different virus in these settings. It’s brought in from the community. “It’s a mistake if people think it’s something different going on in these settings. This is community spread. It is not going anywhere, and it’s going the wrong direction.”

He pointed to Geary County as an example of how local officials acted quickly to contain a positive case. On Thursday evening they found a law enforcement officer was ill with Covid. Geary County worked with KDHE, and they tested everyone the next morning. Had five positive cases, performed contact tracing, and did another round of testing, which revealed no new cases. “That’s the classic quick response. Testing of everyone in the cluster, and contact tracing, and retesting.”

He also cautioned about spread seen at funerals – Shawnee County issued an alert about an increase in county and other areas associated with funerals. One June 15 they reported 41 cases and a death, and residents dispersed to five other counties, all tied to a recent funeral. 

Kansas Department of Emergency Management

The emergency operations center is still active. National Guard is still working to distribute PPE, food, and help with testing sites. Active National Guard members is down to 400, and will likely be down to 200 by July.

Kansas Office of Recovery

Executive Director Cheryl Harrison Lee shared a slide deck explaining the process through which federal funds will be distributed to local units of government. I will include it, rather than try to break it all out here. But basically they worked to create something that is fair, and gets the money out to all parts of the state, something that is impactful, and goes to areas hardest hit by the virus, and that addresses the economic cost by factoring in issues such as unemployment. The money will be distributed to counties, who will be encouraged to share the money with cities, schools, and businesses. There is a three-phased approach to getting this money out to the local level.

The full slide deck is below.

  SPARK for Legislators_6.19Final

1 Comment

  • Posted June 20, 2020
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    Jim Potter

    Jason, thanks for the update, Jim Potter

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