UK variant of COVID-19 found in Kansas
Evidence from the UK indicates that this variant spreads much more quickly
Okay. Hello, everybody. Um, first up our public health care of the week. Uh, today we want to recognize Angela Sauers, who has been the administrator of the Ford County Health Department for over 21 years. In her community, Angela is known for her exceptional responsiveness and is always ready to respond to phone calls or emails. 24 7. Ford County is home, as you know, to to large meatpacking plants, both of which experience Covad 19 outbreaks. Early in the pandemic, Angela partnered with staff members at the plants to ensure that they received the necessary equipment to keep the workers safe. She is also not afraid to try new innovative approaches to virus mitigation. Her health department was one of the first in the state to start using the rapid testing machines. Most of all, Angela cares deeply about the citizens of Ford County, and she never compromises when promoting important health principles, like wearing masks even in the face of stiff opposition. Angela, I thank you for your dedication to the residents of Fort County. Your hard work is appreciated by the people who serve and by the entire state so onto the numbers. Since Monday. Kansas has reported 2247 new positive Covad 19 cases and 86 new deaths. This brings us to a total of 278,915 cases, 8578 hospitalizations and 3895 deaths. Over the past few weeks, we have seen a steady and pretty significant decrease in the number of new cases, and that is good news, and I know that I sound like a broken record. But while we can be reassured by these numbers, we cannot allow them toe lull us into a false sense of security. So hang in there. Continue wearing your masks, avoiding large gatherings on physically distance. So next I’ll move into vaccines. Despite the ongoing nationwide vaccine shortest shortage, Kansas is making progress getting vaccines into arms. As of today, the Kansas Vaccine Dashboard shows that 198,350 Kansans are reported as vaccinated. That’s nearly 7% of our population. This morning I announced the launch of a new tool that will further support our progress over the past couple of weeks. I have mentioned during my briefings that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been developing an online find my vaccine mapping tool. That tool is now officially live on the website Kansas vaccine dot gov. It stands ready to help Kansans locate sites that are administering vaccines in their communities. Ah, specifically, find my vaccine will allow Kansans to look up nearby Cove in 19 vaccine locations. Identify which locations have recently received doses and access content information for each location to confirm that they’re eligible for the vaccine and the site has doses available. It’s important to remember that because of the national vaccine shortage, many of our enrolled providers do not yet have vaccines to offer for the general public. But we wanted to go ahead and get ahead of the curve. Have this platform ready to go and the public familiar with it. When the supply does meet more of our demand, as more providers sign up and the federal supply of vaccine increase, we will update the information routinely to streamline distribution. We ask that all providers who intend to vaccinate the general public sign up on the find my vaccine tool while the two will be extremely helpful in locating vaccine sites and booking appointments. I want to reiterate that vaccine distribution is still dependent upon federal supply. To move on through Phase two and into the next phases of distribution, we will need to see a significant increase of doses from the federal government. As for the allocations that we’ve received or projected to received next week, we’re expecting to receive 18, 525 prime doses. That’s the first dose on 18,525 booster doses from Pfizer from Madonna. Next week, we’re expecting 25,700 prime doses and 17,800 boosters. That’s a total of 80,000, 550 doses. For those of you who are trying to figure that out, you remember that just two weeks ago we were receiving around 45,000 doses per week. So it’s progress. Before I take questions. I want to provide an update on the Kansas Department of Labor’s efforts to combat the number of fraudulent unemployment insurance claims coming in. As you may know, the Labor Department’s in states across the country have experienced an onslaught of fraudulent claims since the pandemic began. That’s why our agency shutdown services over the weekend to allow them to install new fraud. Protection Program services were back online yesterday morning, and I can report that the new program is doing the job. Justus We had hoped. As of, uh, just moments ago, the department has blocked more than 601,000 fraudulent log in attempts since opening up yesterday morning at 7 a.m. We know that challenges and set back at the Department of Labor have been hard on Kansans. But what can’t get lost in all of this is the work that her team of the Department of Labor has done. The number of complaints is higher than we have ever seen. Number complainants rather is higher than we’ve ever seen, and all are being processed by an I T system that was implemented in the 19 seventies. The Department of Labor staff has processed 3.9 million weekly claims totalling over 200 $2.6 billion between regular unemployment and the federal pandemic programs. To put this in perspective prior to the pandemic, it took eight years to get to $2.6 billion in claims in 2020. It took eight months. This new fraud protection program will remove a huge burden from our labor staff and allow them to spend more time helping Kansans and less time chasing fraud. And with that, I’ll take some questions. Governor, I’m so getting some angry from people can’t get through Fraud hotline one. Just I was me. You can’t write these income groups on each year suggested. And Sean Tarwater told mhm always did either. They’re completely in where they’re hiding something big, and I think it’s the What do you? What do you say to all that? There’s this. There’s this. There’s this perception, this language, this discussion out there about what a mess hard. Well, I’m not going to deny that. It has been a tough road on that. Many Kansans have been frustrated by, uh, the inadequacy of the system that is, you know, 40 45 years old, to handle the surge of requests that we have received beginning last march. Uh, in terms of representive Tarwater. You know, I appreciate the fact that he really wants this Department of Labor system to get up and running better. Um, I would like for him to consider, um, addressing again the issue of the penalty of if you if you get one. If you If you have a one violation on unemployment, uh, you then get thrown out of the system for five years. You know, Representative Tarwater was instrumental in getting that passage, uh, of that bill in 2013 that has created huge hardship of four Kansas. I think we’ve got about 7000 Kansans who did not know, uh, that they had been thrown out of unemployment and found that out when the pandemic hit. So representative Tarwater is sincere in wanting this toe work better than I am open toe working with him to make that happen. Ministrations doing anything in regards to over victims in relation to August play? Yes. No. Well, you know, we were asking those one. I want people to be reassured that, uh, it wasn’t the department of labor who exposed all of their identity information that happened. You know, the fraudsters got that information off, you know, the dark web and then used it to infiltrate our system and every other state system. So I just want people to rest assured that you know, there’s there’s not a We have done what we think we can dio now to prevent the fraud claims I’m coming in and stealing your identity. That’s what we did this past weekend, putting in those more secure log in. So we’ve done that. Um And then we also we do have a website where people can go and report. It s o that, you know, it’s known that this happened to them on they don’t get penalized, and then we we do expect, though Azaz the 10 90 nines or sent out that there are gonna be people who are gonna get these 10 99 saying, you know, that they owe on we We’ve got a hotline set up for that and we were setting up a completely distinct call center to deal with those issues. So way know it’s there on we expect that there will be problems and we’re setting up a response team. You announced money lawmakers. She is. I think they’re still mulling it around. I e s o. I have not gotten any direct feedback from any one or any legislators at all. No governor on the vaccine or state employees get, uh, some, uh, there are some who have been vaccinated myself, for instance, Um uh, on others who fell within our the continuance of operation plan eso those folks on then people they reside with have been receiving vaccines. And you know that the Senate is at some point soon Probably its resolution. Yeah. Version of policy policy on prison inmates without right. What do you I I saw that that was going on, and I continue to believe that we’re doing the right thing. You know, we’re following, uh, CDC guidelines public health guidelines to vaccinate those folks who live in congregate settings. Eso within the prison population. We are, at this point vaccinating staff. We had already done, uh, staff who worked in the medical units at our correctional facilities. Now we’re moving on to the correctional officers themselves. They will. They’ll get vaccinated. And then when we have finished with the staff, we will move on on begin with inmates who are 65 or older. Thank you very hard. Yeah. Talk about both weekend. Me worried about that holiday? Well, this is certainly holiday coming upto people that support the Kansas City Chiefs That’s true. Yeah, we We don’t want this to be a super spreader weekend. Andi. I think that the same admonishments remain, which is, um, small gatherings, social distancing. I recognize that people let their hair down during a big event like this, but the the request that they continue to show good anti contagion measures like we’ve been doing all along still remains secretaries. I don’t get that vaccine E C. A lot of places that are missing places. All right, incorrectly label received doses. Wonder later to train. Uh huh. There, this is gonna leave some more confusion. And this is for the find. My vaccine tool. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. There are some gaps and spaces in there. We’ve reached out to a lot of providers. There’s a lot that air in the process of registering. Ah, lot of its de motivator toe. Have a dot on a map without having any prospect of having any vaccine anytime soon. Onda, we have a terrific capacity in there with the current number of dots on the map toe increase multiples of what we’re receiving. Now you’re going to see that get more and more populated way updated every day assistant secretary. Other states they’re diverting. There are a lot device. Go to Walgreens was going to care. Broken your other. What staff alone from Paris. That’s something of mercy system into have a job based on just allowed risk. Yeah. Yeah. The question is about redistribution of vaccine, and we do have a very active redistribution process, including the National Pharmacy Partnership Program that is serving long term care. Uh, the uptake by staff has been not as brisk as we would like it. T b ah. Lot are, uh, what I would call delaying their decision making on that. And they’ve come out and said that, and matter of fact, we’re vaccinating people that differed initially, So I’m optimistic that there will be increased uptake, but we don’t let those vials and those doses goto waste. We do redistribute those for other purposes. The last question, uh, and you tell me whether or not you like Yeah, expand community provision passed. Yeah, well, intensifying that. Making a retroactive. The last. Yeah. Uh, Tim, I’m going to I don’t know the details of that. So I’m a little low to respond. I do know that. Yeah, we tried to walk a fine line in what was reasonable liability protections to give to our nursing facilities. But what still protected, uh, consumers. So I’ll need to look at that and see, uh, what it looks like. And, uh, you know, then make some judgment north. Let’s see where and so seem to be a big mess. Yeah. I mean, they’re obviously there. Have there have been some issues and I think that’s why we tried to thread that needles. You know, there there are some things you really can’t covert related that you really cannot hold an employer responsible for, uh or owner of a business responsible for. And we wanted to provide that for a nursing facilities without going so far that if you know, liability doesn’t protect negligence and those kinds of we don’t want to make sure that we didn’t push it over so that it did
UK variant of COVID-19 found in Kansas
Evidence from the UK indicates that this variant spreads much more quickly
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday that the UK variant of COVID-19 has been found in the state.Authorities said a resident in Ellis County was found to have the United Kingdom, or UK, variant known as B.1.1.7. A case investigation is underway to determine how the person became infected with the variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as if others may have been exposed. No further details are being released concerning the patient, including demographics.The variant was determined through the whole genome sequencing conducted through the laboratories at the KDHE.”This finding does not change our public health recommendations. We continue to encourage people to take the appropriate precautions: follow isolation and quarantine recommendations, practice physical distancing, wearing masks, good hygiene, staying home if ill and getting the vaccine if you are able to, once the supply is sufficient,” said Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary.This variant was first reported in the U.S. at the end of December. Evidence from the UK indicates that this variant spreads much more quickly through the population and, given that fact, may rapidly increase the number of hospitalizations and deaths. Health officials said that more studies are needed to confirm this finding.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday that the UK variant of COVID-19 has been found in the state.
Authorities said a resident in Ellis County was found to have the United Kingdom, or UK, variant known as B.1.1.7.
A case investigation is underway to determine how the person became infected with the variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as if others may have been exposed. No further details are being released concerning the patient, including demographics.
The variant was determined through the whole genome sequencing conducted through the laboratories at the KDHE.
“This finding does not change our public health recommendations. We continue to encourage people to take the appropriate precautions: follow isolation and quarantine recommendations, practice physical distancing, wearing masks, good hygiene, staying home if ill and getting the vaccine if you are able to, once the supply is sufficient,” said Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary.
This variant was first reported in the U.S. at the end of December. Evidence from the UK indicates that this variant spreads much more quickly through the population and, given that fact, may rapidly increase the number of hospitalizations and deaths. Health officials said that more studies are needed to confirm this finding.