TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly held a news conference Monday to discuss the importance of wearing masks and rising COVID-19 cases.
“The Centers for Disease Control is urging everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and practice social distancing because these proactive steps work. Until we have a vaccine, masks social distancing, and good hygiene are our best defenses against this virus. Kansas is at a make it or break it moment so let’s do the right and smart thing,” said Gov. Kelly.
The governor said that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is recommending that the state remain in phase 3 of the Ad Astra reopening plan due to significant increases in the disease spread.
“The nearly 3,500 new cases in the past two weeks is the steepest rate of increase we have seen since the pandemic began,” said Gov. Kelly.
The state says the number of Kansans who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since the pandemic began is now at 16,901. That is an increase of 982 since the last update on Friday.
The number of Kansans who have died with COVID-19 is 280, up three from Friday.
The KDHE does list hospitalizations since the pandemic began. On Monday, that number was 1,235, an increase of 16 since Friday.
According to the governor, there are 118 active clusters of coronavirus in the state. There have been 14 new clusters since last Wednesday. Seven of those are from bars and restaurants.
“There are no clusters at this time connected to barber shops, nail salons, or any other close contact service. That is not a coincidence. It is more proof that masks and hygienic business practice work,” Gov. Kelly added.
Gov. Kelly used Texas as an example of reversing their stance on masks. The state has recently closed bars and reduced restaurant capacity due to increasing cases and hospitalizations.
“Every Kansan has an opportunity to step up and keep their loved ones healthy and keep Kansas open for business,” Gov. Kelly said. “Some are upset for the mask order or other actions I have taken, but my responsibility as the governor of this state is to honestly assess and confront the pandemic regardless of the political consequences, so I will continue to do everything in my power to save lives and keep our economy open. I strongly encourage other elected leaders in Kansas to do the same.”
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