TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) --- Gov. Laura Kelly and Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary, Dr. Lee Norman held a joint news conference today to give an update on the state's response to the coronavirus and answer questions.
Kelly spoke first, and gave an update on some changes occurring in the state personnel. As of Wednesday morning, General David Weishaar has replaced General Lee Taffanelli as the state's Adjutant General. The Adjutant General is in charge of the state's military as well as Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Taffanelli has agreed to stick around and assist the state at this time of need.
Kelly also discussed the three positive coronavirus cases at the Lansing Correctional Facility. She said the Department of Corrections has a plan in place to ensure the safety of all inmates. Those who were in close contact with the individuals who tested positive will be isolated and monitored.
Kelly also reminded Kansans that April begins tornado season. She urged everyone in the state not to disregard the seriousness of a potential natural disaster, despite the ongoing pandemic. If a natural disaster was to occur, social distancing guidelines would remain in place in storm shelters.
KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman spoke about the number of cases and the new death caused by COVID-19. The nursing home where this death occurred, LifeCare in Burlington, currently has fourteen positive cases. Norman also mentioned the state is having a hard time getting the specific swabs it needs for the COVID-19 test. The swabs cannot have any foreign DNA on them, which means they can't be made of cotton or wood. He is hopefully that the new 45-minute PCR rapid test will increase the number of people tested to over 64,000 within the next few weeks.
Norman said the KDHE is using GPS-tracking on cellphones to determine how much people are moving across the state and how well they are following social distancing guidelines. Each county is given a grade A-F; A meaning the county is following the social distancing guidelines, F meaning the county is doing a poor job following the guidelines. He said 45 counties in the state have received F's.