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Governor Laura Kelly addresses COVID-19 concerns

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — Governor Laura Kelly says coronavirus is still a big problem across Kansas. During a Wednesday news conference, she pointed to the current deaths and hospitalizations and again asked people to wear masks to slow the spread of the virus.

Kelly asked for families to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance of not traveling for the holiday.

“I understand how discouraging and frustrating it is to not get together with family members over special holidays like Thanksgiving,” she said. “I know we all want this to be over. We all want to return to some semblance of normal, but we cannot return to any semblance of normal until this virus is under control.”

“Staying home is the best way to protect our families and communities, keep our businesses and schools open and reduce hospitalizations.”

Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), also gave an update on hospitals. He spoke about what he’s hearing from hospital leaders during their weekly phone calls.

“We have heard a consistent theme that hospitals are running out of beds and especially running out of staff,” Norman said. “Hospitals are operating at full capacity and seeing a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 patients.”

He said healthcare workers are facing frontline fatigue.

“For the frontline health care workers and other essential workers, the flood of new cases we are seeing in our state is pushing them to the brink,” Norman said. “After more than eight months of nonstop work battling this virus, our brave doctors, nurses, correctional facility officers and other vital healthcare workers face fatigue, exhaustion and desperation just when we need them the most.”

He said to help the workers everyone should commit to live safely and to protect our communities from this virus. He asked for Kansans to follow Governor Kelly’s order of wearing masks when inside public places.

LINK: County-by-County COVID-19 Response Policies

Last Wednesday, Governor Kelly announced Executive Order 20-68 establishing a State of Disaster Emergency that began at midnight on November 25, requiring Kansans to wear face coverings when inside public spaces, or in situations where physical distancing of six feet cannot be maintained.

Kansans under five years of age, those with medical conditions, and others outlined in the order are exempt from the face-covering protocol.

The order allowed local officials one week to craft and implement their own version of a face covering ordinance “that works for them and their communities.”

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