State officials detail plans for possible spread of coronavirus, Rep. Davids applauds emergency response funding bill

Gov. Laura Kelly (at podium); Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Lee Norman (in white coat); and Kansas Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli addressed the state's preparation for the spread of coronavirus Wednesday. Photo credit office of the governor.

The overall threat posed by COVID-19 — also known as the coronavirus — is relatively low in Kansas, state officials said Wednesday. But they are urging healthcare workers and the public at large to be prepared to address the spread of the virus as global cases continue to rise.

Gov. Laura Kelly, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman, MD, and Kansas Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli, who serves as director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, provided details on the steps the state has taken to prepare for the virus here.

Those include:

  • Frequent communication with healthcare providers across the state
  • Working with government partners at the federal, state and local level to increase awareness of the virus and how to prevent its spread
  • Preparing for emergency management scenarios.

Healthcare agencies have thus far tested a handful of individuals in Kansas exhibiting symptoms that could be indicative of coronavirus infection, but none have come back positive.

Symptoms and prevention

State officials stressed that basic hygiene practices continue to be the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — and other illnesses as well.

“The best way to protect yourself, your family and your friends against contracting the virus is to use good hygiene practices like washing your hands, coughing into your sleeve, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and stay home if you’re not feeling well,” Kelly said. “It’s simple, but effective.”

Symptoms of coronavirus infection may include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

State officials recommend that individuals who may recently have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea and are experiencing such symptoms within 14 days of travel should stay home and contact a healthcare provider to alert them.

KDHE has also set up a hotline to take reports of suspect cases of coronavirus infection: 1-866-534-3463

Rep. Davids comments on passage of Coronavirus Emergency Response Bill

Rep. Sharice Davids lauded the passage of the Coronavirus Emergency Response Bill by the House of Representatives on a 415-2 vote Wednesday.

Rep. Sharice Davids on Wednesday issued a statement lauding the passage of the Coronavirus Emergency Response Bill, which would provide funding for efforts to address the spread of the virus.

“This package will fully fund a robust response to coronavirus, including vaccine and treatment development, support for state, local and tribal governments – which are our first line of defense – and assistance for affected small businesses. Importantly, it helps to prevent price-gouging and ensures that vaccines and treatments for coronavirus are affordable and accessible,” Davids said.

The House approved the bill, with allocated $8.3 billion to the response effort, on a 415-2 vote. It now heads to the Senate, where it could be voted on as early as today.