Kelly recommends Kansas counties stay in Phase Three of reopening

photo by: Conner Mitchell/Journal-World

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly speaks at a COVID-19 news briefing on Monday, June 22, 2020 at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

TOPEKA — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is advising counties to delay moving into the next phase of reopening, citing data that shows COVID-19’s spread in the state is trending upward for the first time in weeks.

On Monday, when the state was originally slated to move into Phase Four under Kelly’s guidelines, the governor instead strongly recommended that all Kansas counties remain in Phase Three of the reopening process. Douglas County announced last week that it would remain in Phase Three — which sets a gathering limit of 45 people and encourages everyone in public to practice social distancing and wear a mask — through July 5.

“This serves as a reminder that we are not out of the woods. We have got to continue to aggressively practice the public health recommendations in the Ad Astra Plan,” Kelly said. “That means wearing a mask, staying home when you’re sick, avoiding mass (gatherings) and social distancing. These safety guidelines work.”

Kelly, while acknowledging how “tired of this” all Kansans were, said it was vital to practice sound public health measures since COVID-19 will be a present societal factor until a vaccine is developed.

“I know we want to get back to normal and spend time with friends and partake in activities and see our families,” she said. “However, we must remain vigilant. This virus is still in our communities, and it is still spreading.”

Kansas on Monday confirmed 406 new cases of COVID-19 since the state Department of Health and Environment last released data on Friday. The state’s cumulative case total now sits at 12,465, and the disease has claimed the lives of 259 Kansans — an increase of five since Friday.

Over the weekend, KDHE confirmed results from 7,364 total COVID-19 tests. With 406 of those returning positive, that equates to a 5.5% positive test rate, a slight uptick from where testing trends were in the week prior. Overall, 8.0% of Kansans tested for COVID-19 have tested positive.

Kelly is next scheduled to speak publicly about the latest COVID-19 developments in a Thursday news briefing at 4 p.m. Those briefings can be streamed live on Kelly’s official Facebook page.


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