Kelly says statewide stay-at-home order may be needed

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Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday cautioned that a statewide stay-at-home order may become necessary as the coronavirus  continues spreading across the state.

“The crisis continues to evolve by the hour and a statewide stay-at-home order may, indeed, become unavoidable in the coming days,” Kelly said at a news conference Monday.

Already several counties – Johnson, Wyandotte, Douglas and Leavenworth – have imposed stay-at-home orders.

“While none of us wanted to see these orders go into effect, they are necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus within these communities,” Kelly said.

“All of these actions while disruptive and unpleasant are absolutely necessary to keep Kansans safe and healthy and to prevent overwhelming our emergency rooms and our larger health care system, Kelly said.

The governor said a decision has not yet been made to issue a statewide order because confirmed positive coronavirus cases have been identified in only 16 of the state’s 105 counties.

So far, there are have been 82 positive cases and two deaths reported in Kansas.

Health Secretary Lee Norman said the state is projected to reach between 300 and 400 cases by the end of March.

“The encouraging news for the state of Kansas is that we’re not seeing the doubling of cases like have been seen in other states,” Norman said.

Other states, he said, are seeing their cases double every three to four days. Kansas is seeing about 10 to 12 new cases a day.

Kelly noted that the state is seeing coronavirus cases in all age groups not just seniors.

Kelly said her administration is evaluating the crisis daily in determining at what point a statewide order is needed.

“We have not set a hard-and-fast line,” Kelly said.

“We are really taking this on a day-by-day level and working with our health professionals to give us a heads up when we need to do that,” she said.

Kelly also announced that she will rescind an executive order limiting mass gatherings to 50 people and replace it with limits on such gatherings to 10 people.

It also would provide a framework for local governments to make a decision about issuing a state-at-home order in order to ensure consistency.

“We’ve all got to do our part and work together to protect our families and our communities,” she said.