More than 1 million Kansans have received at least 1 COVID-19 shot; also, Brazilian variant detected
Story updated at 5:51 p.m. Wednesday:
Mission — Kansas has crossed the threshold of vaccinating more than 1 million people against COVID-19.
That means 35% of the state’s 2.9 million residents have received at least one shot, according to state data released Wednesday.
The state hit the mark one day after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced that a particularly contagious variant of COVID-19 that is sweeping through Brazil has been detected for the first time in Kansas. The agency said it is investigating how someone in Sedgwick County became infected with the P.1 variant and whether others may have been exposed.
Earlier this month, a South African variant was identified for the first time in Kansas in someone from Finney County. Another variant first identified in the United Kingdom also has been found in several Kansas counties.
Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of health and environment, urged Kansans in a statement to wear masks, physically distance and get vaccinated. The number of COVID-19 cases rose by 601 from Monday to Wednesday, and the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic now sits at 305,320. The number of deaths increased by 14 to 4,944.
Adrienne Byrne, Sedgwick County’s health director, said the identification of the Brazilian variant shows the importance of getting tested for the virus.