Kansas governor Laura Kelly has announced a new testing strategy for the coronavirus that will focus on areas that have had a high, ongoing community spread.
Speaking at her weekly news conference on Monday, the governor said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will be starting phase one of a unified testing strategy that will coordinate public and private testing efforts across the state. She said there will be continued testing of people who have symptoms and people who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus. The strategy will increase routine testing in areas of the state with high community spread, and it will focus on at-risk settings such as nursing homes, correctional facilities and schools, especially if contract tracing has been difficult. People without symptoms will be tested under this strategy.
Kelly said the coordinated strategy will go a long way in effective testing of the Kansas population, while identifying areas where the virus exists in local communities. She said more details about the strategy will be announced in the next few weeks.
President Trump announced Monday that millions of rapid tests will be going to states. Governor Kelly said it’s not known how many tests Kansas will receive, but the White House wants the testing to be targeted toward schools. She said the testing is expected to have results in 15 minutes.
The testing program was announced as Kansas reported an increase of more than 2,000 cases of coronavirus from the weekend. The state is now reporting 58,629 cases with 637 deaths. The governor said “We cannot accept these rising case numbers,” and she said a coordinated statewide approach is needed for mask-wearing and testing and Medicaid needs to be expanded to provide quality health care for an additional 150,000 Kansans.