Thousands of coronavirus test kits coming to Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – As of Monday, 65,000 coronavirus test kits are coming to Kansas.

“We’re talking about a different scale,” Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said.

On Monday, Norman gave an update to members of the media on the coronavirus outbreak in the state. At the time of the press conference, Kansas had seen 368 cases of coronavirus.

Norman announced that the state will receive thousands of kits, likely by the end of the week, that will be able to test for coronavirus in about 45 minutes.

Norman said the state will implement a new methodology behind its testing because of the increase.

“What we’ve been doing is diagnosing coronavirus, COVID-19 in sick people,” Norman said. “What this kind of testing capacity will allow us to do will be to do population studies, and that’s from a public health perspective. That’s what we really want to do.”

Norman said the state labs are currently performing about 30 percent of tests in Kansas, while commercial labs are doing the rest.

He said testing in the labs will go beyond testing sick people and everyone who was around them. More testing will help decide who to isolate earlier and where the problem areas of the state are.

“It allows us to take it to the next step, which is to have distributed testing capabilities around the state, testing people who are well, but might be infected and or shedding the virus,” Norman said.

He said he would like to see the state running up to 1,000 tests each day.

Norman said the department still needs to figure out how they will select who will be tested. He said the areas of the state that are hardest hit will likely be the focus, but people that will be tested will include healthy people, and a doctor’s note to get a test would no longer be required.

Norman said the increased tests will help contain the virus by making sure more people with it are in isolation.

Increased testing now will help fight the virus if it returns in the fall or wintertime, which Norman believes is likely.

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