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by: KSN NewsPosted: May 15, 2020 / 01:53 PM CDT / Updated: May 15, 2020 / 03:07 PM CDT


Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says the reopening of Kansas during the coronavirus pandemic remains subject to the whims of the virus.

During a news conference Friday afternoon, she discussed her decision to slow the reopening of the economy. On Thursday, she added Phase 1.5 to her reopening plan.

Phase 1.5 allows some businesses to reopen Monday, May 18. Other businesses that expected to open will not be allowed to reopen yet.

“Data, not dates will ultimately drive our decision-making process,” sad Kelly.

She said it takes time to effectively collect and analyze all the data coming in from the health departments and other sources around the state. She said that lag creates a delay in the ability to assess the statewide landscape.

“So even as we near the end of Phase 1, we are operating with data that lags about one week behind what’s currently happening on the ground,” she said.

“We have heard stories, across the world of how disease spread can quickly change the entire outlook of a community’s recovery at a moment’s notice,” said Kelly. “If reopening takes place too quickly, too aggressively, it has the power to undermine all progress established by months of quarantine and sacrifice.”

The governor said officials continue to feel optimistic about rates of hospitalizations and deaths. Both rates are declining.

“These promising developments in our state are because of our efforts to stay at home, socially distance and practice good public health hygiene,” said Kelly. “It is not an indication that the disease is gone. It is an indication that we are doing a good job of managing it.”

Dr. Lee Norman, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the state is now up to 7,886 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus. That is an increase of 418 cases from Wednesday.

Norman said the goal is to test 60,000 Kansans in May. He said they are running ahead of that schedule.

He also talked about the illness that is striking children across the U.S., pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.

“It’s a rare syndrome, unfortunately, but we’ve been talking all along how kids are relatively spared of COVID-19 illnesses,” said Norman. “So this is something that we’re going to watch very carefully.”

He said a young Kansan is hospitalized at Children’s Mercy with the syndrome.

Norman is asking Kansans to wear masks when they are out in public for any reason. He said wearing a mask helps keep people from spreading their germs to others.

He said no single thing you do will take the risk down to zero, but it will help.

“Every one of these things, including the masks, help to mitigate the risk to you,” said Norman.A Flourish chartA Flourish map