Newsletter - March 13, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID 19)
As I write this the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced the sixth case of COVID-19 in Kansas. The presumptive positive case was identified with testing sent to KDHE’s Laboratories (KHEL). These results will be verified by the CDC lab but will be treated as a positive unless determined otherwise.
The case is a Butler County man in his 70s who had traveled outside the U.S. KDHE continues to work with the local health department and CDC to identify and contact people who may have come into contact with the individual while he was infectious and will monitor them for fever and respiratory symptoms. The patient is in isolation.
Last night, KDHE announced the first COVID-19 related death in Kansas. A man in his 70s was brought to the hospital and died shortly after arrival. Testing done post-mortem came back positive for COVID-19. He was living in a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County.
Experts say we might not be able to stop the spread, but we can slow it down.
I know many of us are frustrated about the cancellation of the Girls State Basketball Tournament, and the NCAA National Basketball Tournament but it is all about “flattening the curve”. In other words, reducing the likelihood that the virus moves even faster through crowds of people.
The nation’s leading experts in infectious diseases say that at this point, there’s no stopping the coronavirus. What you don’t want is for the number of cases to rise so fast that it overwhelms our health systems and our ability to treat people.
A sharp spike in a short time is bad for hospitals. Simple measures like hyper-awareness of hand washing and “social distancing” can help by slowing it down.
This is not a political issue. This is a public health issue. The health and safety of all Kansans comes first, and it is the highest priority for me and my fellow legislators at this time.
I am working with the members of the governor’s public health team and other legislators in both houses to make sure our first responders, health care providers and communities have all they need to help slow the spread of the virus and treat those who may have it.
I encourage every Kansan to follow basic good health practices:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- To keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The most comprehensive and up to date information about the corona virus in Kansas can be found at kdhe.ks.gov
. I encourage anyone who has questions and who wants the facts to go there for information.
The legislature has one job that must be done each year, the passage of a budget. I am working with the other members of the appropriations committee to help make sure that a basic budget is passed so that the state is ready and able to serve Kansans throughout this rapidly changing situation.
By following sound public health practices and each of us doing our part we will meet this challenge with resolve and as Kansans always do, make it through together.
Please reach out to me any time I can assist you with a state agency concern. I do ask that you send the request to me by email. This ensures that I get the information correctly to the agency we are working with. You can reach me when I’m in Topeka by email Shannon.firstname.lastname@example.org
, by phone (785) 296-7466, or by mail at 300 SW 10th
Avenue, 274-W, Topeka, KS 66612. My office at the Capitol is 274W, second floor west wing.