Gov. Kelly still concerned by rise in Kansas numbers, pushes Medicaid expansion

Gov. Laura Kelly COVID-19 news conference
Gov. Laura Kelly COVID-19 news conference
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 1:07 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Gov. Laura Kelly said on Monday she is concerned by the constant rise in COVID-19 cases in Kansas. As of Monday, the state reported 1,674 new cases and four new deaths.

The governor said the virus continues to spread at an alarming rate due to the flu season, schools and businesses reopening, sports, and more severe symptoms in people with pre-existing conditions. The governor said Kansans should continue to maintain social distance, avoid large gatherings and wear a mask.

“I don’t like them either, but it’s not a hard thing to do, and it is the one thing we know that really does mitigate the spread and because people can be completely asymptomatic and be infected we can’t tell,” said Gov. Kelly. “As an individual I can’t tell if the person next to me has COVID 19 or not. I don’t know whether to wear a mask. I think every Kansan wherever they live ought to wear a mask when they go into public places.”

Gov. Kelly said another concern for her is a hearing on the Affordable Care Act set to go before the U.S. Supreme Court Case on Nov. 10. She said if the plan were to be struck down, more than one million Kansas with pre-existing conditions would be at risk of being kicked off their health care insurance, including 53,000 which have contracted COVID-19, according to the governor. The governor said 85,000 Kansans enrolled in the Kansas Exchange would lose health insurance and Medicaid would not be expanded for 150,000 Kansans because the state would have to absorb the total cost.

Kansas' unemployment is 6.9% down 0.3% from last week. Gov. Kelly addresses the backlog in unemployment payments down to 14,000 from 30k-40,000 Kansans. She said the state paid out nearly $2 million in unemployment insurance, accounting for roughly two million different claims. She said the extra FEMA approved payment of $300 should be rolling out by the end of September.

Gov. Kelly also reminded Southwest Central workers about financial assistance is available through the essential healthcare fund. The $8 million can be accessed by early childhood professionals and other essential workers who have been affected by COVID by going to and clicking on healthcare assistance.

Gov. Laura Kelly is set to hold her weekly COVID-19 news conference at 4:00p.m. Monday.

Her new conference comes after the state announced 1,600 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and 4 new deaths.

You can watch a live stream of the news conference here:

If you are not able to watch the video stream, CLICK HERE.

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