TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly and Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, discussed the latest regarding COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the number of Kansas coronavirus cases increased to 2,211, with 110 deaths according to the KDHE.
Gov. Kelly said she signed executive order 2026 which makes licensing easier for healthcare workers during this time. The order waives physician supervision or collaboration requirements for certain medical licensees, including advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants and licensed practical nurses.
“These are qualified health care professionals who provide safe, high-quality, routine care to Kansans on a daily basis,” Kelly said. “They diagnose illnesses, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications and work in numerous medical settings and fields. Temporarily easing some regulatory measures will help give doctors more capacity to focus on COVID-19 patients.”
The order permits registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, who hold a license that is exempt, inactive or has lapsed within the past five years to provide medical services appropriate to their qualifications. The order also allows out-of-state health care providers to practice in Kansas, if necessary, without a Kansas license, but only if they are in good standing in their home state. Through the order, health care providers assisting the state in its response as coordinated by the Kansas Division of Emergency Management will be covered by the liability protections of the Kansas Emergency Management Act.
On Wednesday, Gov. Kelly also signed executive order 2027. It allows the sale of alcoholic beverages for carryout consumption and permits the sale of liquor in a container that is not the original container for any establishment holding a class A club license, class B club license or drinking establishment license.
“I understand how many Kansas restaurants rely on the sale of alcoholic beverages,” Kelly said. “My administration is doing all it can to ease the burden on Kansas employees and their families who have lost income due to this crisis.”
The sale of alcoholic beverages for carryout consumption is subject to the following requirements:
- It must be legal for the establishment (the licensee) to sell alcoholic liquor;
- Each container of alcoholic liquor must have been purchased on the licensed premises;
- The licensee or the licensee’s employee must provide the patron with a dated receipt for the unfinished container or containers of alcoholic liquor; and
- Before the container of alcoholic liquor is removed from the licensed premises, the licensee or the licensee’s employee must place the container in a transparent bag sealed in a manner that makes it visibly apparent if the bag is subsequently tampered with or opened.
As for reopening the economy, Gov. Kelly said it will be a gradual process. President Donald Trump’s reopening plan says states cannot reopen until cases go down and testing becomes more available. The governor says she agrees and says Kansas is not where we need to be to open the state. Ideally, she says cases would be going down for 14 days prior to reopening. Gov. Kelly says she will continue to hold meetings with business owners, employees, and healthcare workers to get their input on how the state should reopen and when.
Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE secretary, talked about the broadened testing criteria. He said fever and cough are not required now. The person must have two related symptoms to be tested. Dr. Norman believes Kansas is at the peak right now due to increased testing and more positive cases.
As for testing equipment, 3,000 testing swabs have been delivered, and 10,000 more will be delivered by dentists. The KDHE will soon have 3D printers for their own swabs. Dr. Noman also stressed no blood tests have been approved by the FDA to detect or diagnose coronavirus. He said COVID-19 specific blood tests must be developed in order to be accurate. On a self-administered test recently approved by the FDA, Dr. Norman says they are good, but his only concern is turnaround time.
As for unemployment in Kansas, Gov. Kelly talked about the additional $600 payment from the federal government. She says several states are having trouble getting the extra funds out, and she said the state is still working on it.