Kansas Gov. Kelly extends coronavirus stay-at-home order to May 3

Warren East Theater in Wichita, Kansas temporarily closed due to coronavirus this spring. Photo credit Brian Grimmett/Kansas News Service.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansans will remain under a statewide stay-at-home order for at least two more weeks to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Gov. Laura Kelly said in a briefing Wednesday that she’s extending her executive order that all but shut down a wide range of businesses across the state to May 3.

“Ideally, we need to see a reduction” in new COVID-19 diagnoses, the governor said.

Stay-at-home orders mean people, by and large, should not leave their homes except for essential business — work, grocery shopping, seeking medical care or taking care of family or friends who are in need. People can exercise outside, but cannot gather in groups larger than 10, a restriction that includes church services and funerals.

The state has nearly 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, more than 300 hospitalizations and 76 deaths from the virus.

All states that surround Kansas except Nebraska have either statewide stay-at-home orders or partial ones.

In an interview on WAMU’s “1A” radio program earlier in the day, Kelly defended the possibility of extending her executive order, as well as being the first governor in the country to send children home from the rest of the school year.

“The states that closed down the schools the earliest … those states were able to bend the curve, flatten the curve,” the governor said. “Yes, we have too many cases, and we have way too many deaths, but I think it would have been far worse if we had not acted aggressively.”

Kelly said she was talking with the governors of Colorado and Missouri, along with mayors in the Kansas City area, to plan a way “we can reopen our economy safely.”

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.