Kansas House speaker had COVID-19; governor to get tested

photo by: Associated Press

Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., R-Olathe, speaks with reporters following a meeting of legislative leaders with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, Friday, June 26, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA — Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. tested positive for coronavirus last month, and a spokesman for Gov. Laura Kelly said Thursday that she will get tested because she was in a meeting later with Ryckman and other legislative leaders.

Ryckman is the highest-ranking Kansas official known to have been infected. He notified fellow House Republicans in a letter after Tuesday’s primary, saying he had been hospitalized but is “on the road to recovery.”

Kelly spokesman Sam Coleman said the governor had no idea that Ryckman had tested positive until Thursday. He said the governor will get tested “as soon as we can set it up.”

Ryckman said he began self-isolating at home after he was notified July 10 by phone that he’d had contact with someone who might have the virus. He said he tested positive on July 13 and he began experiencing symptoms that led him to be hospitalized later for a week. His contact ended up not having the virus, and Ryckman said his family also did not get infected.

Ryckman said that he no longer was contagious when he attended a public meeting with other legislative leaders and Kelly on July 29 at the Statehouse.


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