TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced Wednesday that the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 in Kansas jumped 17 since Friday. The total is now 205.
Dr. Lee Norman, the secretary of the KDHE, discussed the higher death toll during his briefing Wednesday afternoon.
“This increase is due to the death register review mainly impacting Finney and Wyandotte counties,” he said. “The death records don’t come in every day, test results don’t come in every day in a linear fashion.”
Norman says there have been 113 clusters of coronavirus in Kansas. 67 of those clusters are still active. He says more than half the deaths in Kansas and approximately half of the positive cases have come from the clusters.
• Corrections: 3 clusters, 986 cases, 6 deaths
• Gatherings: 13 clusters (8 closed) 145 cases, 11 deaths
• Group Living: 6 clusters (5 closed) 53 cases, 2 deaths
• Healthcare: 5 clusters (4 closed) 44 cases
• Long-term Care: 30 clusters (14 closed) 685 cases, 107 deaths
• Meatpacking: 10 clusters, 2,603 cases and 9 deaths
• Private Industry: 46 clusters (16 closed) 367 cases, 3 deaths
Norman also talked about the people who celebrated Memorial Day in the Ozarks but without social distancing and masks.
“I was extremely disappointed and frustrated by these photos and videos I saw of those individuals are not practicing public health recommendations,” he said. “And they have now spread to other counties and most certainly other states including Kansas.”
The doctor asks for Kansans to use extreme caution and remain vigilant.
“This virus has not gone away,” he said. “There is no vaccine available.”
Now that reopening decisions will be made at the county level, Norman said county health officers and county leaders should monitor their hospital bed capacity.
“The reason I say that is because if we see the conduct that we saw like at the Lake of the Ozarks, we’re going to see an increase, and perhaps a stark increase in the number of cases,” he said.
A reporter asked Norman what he hopes counties will do for their reopening plans.
“We would hope that they would look into the “Ad Astra” reopening plan as the continued guidance,” he said. “I’ve already gotten assurances from a number of health officers from around the state, that they will push for that, and hope that their county leadership will as well.”
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