TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly held a press conference from the Topeka Statehouse Wednesday afternoon to give an update regarding COVID-19 in Kansas. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman also joined her for the briefing. 

In her briefing, the governor provided the latest COVID-19 numbers in Kansas, including 1,122 new positive cases and 81 deaths since Monday. There have been 292,837 infections, 9,189 hospitalizations, and 4,724 deaths in Kansas since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

“So my administration is continuing to move forward with our COVID-19 response, particularly in the area of vaccine distribution — just give you a brief idea of what we’re up to our efforts to vaccinate teachers and school staff and moving along very well,” Governor Kelly said. “We hope to have every teacher across the state fully vaccinated in the next couple of weeks with their first dose and shortly thereafter, with their second doses.”

The governor stated that her administration is working closely with local providers to fix the current underlying data reporting issues.

“My administration and KDHE are working with Kansas communities of color to set up culturally relevant outreach to ensure equal access to both information and vaccinations,” Governor Kelly said. “We continue to pay close attention to the balance of vaccine distribution, going to our urban areas and our rural areas, and we’re modifying our vaccine distribution plan to ensure counties receive doses proportionate to their size.” 

Governor Kelly shared a recent analysis by the Food and Drug Administration showing that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine provides strong protection against severe illness and death from COVID-19 and that it only requires one dose and is much easier to store — so it can be deployed more efficiently and open up opportunities to vaccinate a wider swath of the public. “The Federal Drug Administration could authorize this vaccine as early as Saturday and Kansas could start receiving doses as early as next week,” Kelly said.

“Also good news, the number of other vaccine doses coming to Kansas is steadily increasing — next week Kansas is expected to receive approximately 120,000 Moderna and Pfizer doses, that’s a jump up from last week’s 100,000,” Governor Kelly said. “Additional shipments of about 120,000 are coming into pharmacies in some of our safety net clinics across the state,” she added.

The governor talked about the Executive Order she issued on Wednesday to ensure there are enough vaccinators to vaccinate more Kansans quickly.

“The order makes it clear that pharmacy students, dentists, paramedics, and other health care professionals are authorized to vaccinate Kansas with the COVID-19 vaccine,” Kelly said. “Professionals in these areas routinely administer injections, we just want to make it clear that the authority extends to administrating the COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 cases in Kansas, click here