Gov. Kelly announces new statewide COVID-19 testing strategies

Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 11:27 AM CDT
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Governor Laura Kelly announced her plan for statewide COVID-19 testing at her news conference on Thursday, June 11.

The Governor says that it has been a long journey to even be able to consider statewide testing since February when the only labs that had equipment to test for COVID-19 were the CDC labs. She continued to say that after state and private labs had access to the correct testing supplies results came back within 2 days to individuals.

The Governor commended Kansan’s on their efforts to keep each other healthy and stated that the state had half the COVID-19 confirmed testing numbers than Nebraska and Iowa, which did not shutdown early enough to slow the COVID-19 spread.

Governor Kelly says that her weekly talks and one meeting with President Trump were able to secure the supplies needed for testing within the state and helped keep Kansas’ death per capita rate relatively low. She was also able to garner enough supplies for state labs to be able to run with a drastic increase in availability times.

Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, says that while testing is complicated, he, the Governor and her team have all come together to work on strategies that will help Kansans receive testing information back quickly and safely.

Dr. Norman says that a mobile testing lab is being completed so that it may be dispatched to COVID-19 hotspots and ensure mass testing and fast results.

The Governor and Dr. Norman assure that symptomatic patients will be given priority because there is no approved test from the CDC to be able to accurately test those that are asymptomatic.

Dr. Norman says that asymptomatic patients may not even receive testing due to the tests being used being molecular, which means they only reflect that exact moment in time. He says that he is also doubtful there will be a widespread test for those that are asymptomatic because it would not be feasible to test 3.5 million Americans on a regular basis.

The Governor and Dr. Norman say that the goal for Kansas’ new testing strategies is to test at least 2% of the state’s population, this means 60,000 people each month until the end of 2020.

Amid the good news, Dr. Norman brought to attention the fact that people of color are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. He says the almost 2x higher case rate for this specific community is due to a number of barriers. This includes minority majority neighborhoods being located further from essential businesses creating a longer exposure time, not being covered by health insurance, more serious underlying medical conditions which cause death when coupled with the virus and economic disparity.

As always, Governor Kelly wants to remind residents to return to normalcy safely so that the sacrifices that have been made are not in vain.

More information on Kansas’ new statewide testing policy can be found