TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced Wednesday afternoon she is extending the state stay-at-home order until midnight, May 3.

The current stay-at-home order was set to end Sunday, April 19.

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“Unfortunately cases continue to increase, and new counties continue to have confirmed cases,” Kelly said. “Internal and external modeling predict a peak somewhere between the 19th and the 29th of April.”

She said that ideally, Kansas needs to have a reduction in the number of cases for 14 days before it can begin to relax social-gathering restrictions.

Unemployment Claims

Kelly also addressed complaints about the state unemployment phone lines and website. She said there has been significant improvement.

She said 150 state employees are now answering phones at the unemployment office. Before the pandemic started, there were only 20 people to answer calls.

The system logged 751,940 calls Tuesday which Kelly says would average out to 5,000 calls per employee. She said callers should not hang up if they get the answering system. She said hanging up and dialing in again just puts them at the back of the line.

The governor also said IT workers have made progress with the unemployment office website that kept crashing on people who were trying to file claims. She said it is now handling a much greater capacity after improvements made Tuesday.

Hospital Funding

After the briefing, Kelly is meeting with the state finance council to discuss an emergency hospital grant program.

The governor said many hospitals in Kansas are losing money because they had to stop doing elective procedures and are now struggling to make payroll.

Kelly wants a $17 million grant program to be administered through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to help hospitals make ends meet.

Coronavirus Cases in Kansas

The number of positive coronavirus cases in Kansas is up to 1,494. That’s an increase of 68 from Tuesday. Governor Kelly said is is now in 63 of the state’s 105 counties.

The number of deaths associated with COVID-19 in Kansas is 76, up 7 from Tuesday.

Dr. Lee Norman, the head of the KDHE, said the state is currently monitoring 26 outbreaks:

  • 12 in long-term care facilities
  • 2 in group living situations
  • 5 in private companies
  • 1 at Lansing Correctional Facility (44 cases: 24 staff, 20 inmates)
  • 1 hospital
  • 5 religious gatherings

Norman said it is up to health departments at the county level to decide whether to name facilities that have outbreaks.

The local health department will investigate each case and trace and contact people who might be at risk of getting the coronavirus.

If local health officials think there are people they missed, then they may release the name of the facility at that time.