Kansas governor Laura Kelly said Wednesday she will be having talks with legislative leaders about a bi-partisan, statewide mask order to control the spread of COVID-19.

At a statehouse news conference, the governor talked about the latest numbers on the virus, which have a total of74,456 cases and 952 deaths.  She said Kansas continues to see as many as 700 new cases every day, the largest increases since the pandemic began, and the large case rate has started to affect hospitals.   She said the Ascension Via Christi hospital in Pittsburg has halted all non-emergency procedures to make sure staff can care for coronavirus patients.

The governor said the state has sent personal protective equipment and other supplies to Norton County, where all 62 residents of a nursing home tested positive and ten residents died.   She said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is in contact with Norton County health officials about efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

The governor said anti-science, anti-mask rhetoric has politicized the state’s ability to deal with a public health issue.  She says evidence continues to show that masks work, and the wearing of a mask should not be political.  She said it’s about public health and keeping the economy and schools open.

The governor said two thirds of the state’s coronavirus cases are now in areas outside Wichita and Kansas City.  She said the virus can be stopped if Kansans wear masks, with social distancing and avoiding mass gatherings.