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Governor to unveil her plan to reopen Kansas

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly says she will announce her plan for possibly reopening Kansas on May 4. You can watch the announcement live on KSN and KSN.com at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 30.

Kansans have been observing a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order is set to expire at midnight, May 3.

As of Wednesday at noon, Kansas has had 3,738 positive cases of coronavirus. That’s an increase of 247 from Tuesday.

The number of deaths increased by one to 125.

RELATED LINK | Governor Kelly to issue new disaster declaration, reissue executive orders

Unemployment Problems:
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Kelly was asked about the ongoing problems people are having filing for unemployment and getting the extra $600 of stimulus money in their accounts. She said it continues to be a problem with the state’s computer system.

RELATED LINK | KDOL: Delay on $600 payments fixed, expect money by end of week

“We have been able to patch the system together in a way that it was able to be much more responsive,” she said. “We were able to increase the number of applications that we could process at any given time. But that by no means means that there won’t still be delays in the system.”

Kelly said the $600 that came in for applicants through the stimulus package required setting up a completely different platform and that is why the money has been delayed.

“Is everything working perfectly? No, and it won’t.” she said.

Kelly said it is imperative that Kansas invest in its infrastructure to be able to deliver services to the people of Kansas.

She encourages applicants to file online at GetKansasBenefits.gov. She said calling (800) 292-6333 is the next best option, but she advises not to hang up and redial because that just puts you at the back of the line.

Disaster Declaration:
Kelly said she is going to extend the state’s disaster declaration until May 14. It was set to expire on May 1.

Test Kits:
The governor said the state has secured 500,000 coronavirus test collection kits from overseas. The first part of the order is arriving soon. The federal government is also sending 25,000 kits this week.

PPE:
Kelly said FEMA has approved Kansas’ request for a sterilization system that will sterilize N95 masks for healthcare workers. The cleaned masks will go back to the person who was wearing it. The machine will be in Topeka.

She says this will not replace the need for new masks. Kelly said the state is still working to get more personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.

Help for Low-Income Families:
DCF is offering a second chance for low-income families to apply for help with heating bills. The new application period for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) begins May 1 and runs through May 29. Visit covid.ks.gov or lieap.dcf.ks to learn more.

Coronavirus Clusters:
Dr. Lee Norman, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, also spoke at Wednesday’s news conference.

He said they continue to monitor 55 coronavirus clusters across the state. There are 18 in long-term care facilities, 2 in group living situations, 1 at Lansing Correctional Facility, 2 at healthcare facilities, 6 from religious gatherings, 20 from a variety of private companies and 6 from the meat-packing industry.

Norman said staff from the Centers for Disease Control are in Kansas and are assisting the state. Five additional CDC staff will be working with the state for the next 11 months to help with contact tracing.

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