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Governor Kelly, Secretaries of KDHE, Agriculture give update on coronavirus issues

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas officials have been working with meat processing facilities in the state to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Governor Laura Kelly and the secretaries of the Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment discussed the issue during a briefing Monday afternoon.

“My administration has been in communication with all of the impacted packing plants’ representatives of their employees and local health officials,” said Kelly. “The facilities have modified several production and shipping systems and have taken proactive measures to contain the spread. This has included temperature and health screenings and hand sanitization and social distancing.”

Mike Beam, Secretary for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, said conversations are being had to keep the facilities open but running safely and minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

He also said that, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no evidence of the virus spreading via food packaging.

Kelly said Kansas received 7,000 additional tests from the federal government. Those tests will help with finding the extent of the coronavirus problem in the meat-packing communities of southwest Kansas.

Dr. Lee Norman, the Secretary of the KDHE, said health officials are currently monitoring 39 clusters of coronavirus in Kansas. He said a cluster is two or more positive cases emanating from one known exposure.

Kansas clusters found in:

  • 14 long-term care facilities
  • 2 group living arrangements
  • 1 correctional facility (Lansing)
  • 2 healthcare facilities
  • 5 religious gatherings
  • 15 private companies

“To date, in those 39 clusters, we have had 634 positive cases, 111 hospitalizations and 56 deaths associated with those clusters,” he said.

The governor said her administration is working on a plan on how to reopen business in Kansas.

“Last week, the Trump administration issued new guidance to help states begin planning the reopening process but they made it clear that each state must move forward at its own pace based on local health data and projections,” said Kelly.

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