Kansas governor tests negative for coronavirus, aide says


Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly discusses the coronavirus pandemic from the Statehouse in Topeka. (AP File Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A spokesman says Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has tested negative for the coronavirus after being in a public meeting last month with a legislative leader who’d been infected and hospitalized.

Spokesman Sam Coleman said the governor was tested Friday morning. She decided to get tested after Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. disclosed in an email to fellow GOP House members that he’d tested positive for the coronavirus on July 13.

Ryckman said he was hospitalized for about a week was cleared by a doctor to stop isolating, allowing him to go to the July 29 Statehouse meeting. Kelly called his decision “reckless and dangerous.”

Kansas Democratic Party Chair Vicki Hiatt issued the following statement: 

“While I am pleased to hear Speaker Ryckman has recovered from COVID-19, his attempts to cover up his COVID-19 diagnosis and intentionally hide such information from his Democratic peers is grossly negligent and irresponsible. Speaker Ryckman has blocked Governor Kelly’s efforts to implement commonsense safety measures protecting all Kansans at nearly every turn and his refusal to wear a mask, in the Capitol and in public, is the wrong example to send to all Kansans. COVID-19 is spiking in our communities, rural and urban alike, and when leaders refuse to follow the public health guidelines and hide information on party lines, they put all of us at risk.”

Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., R-Olathe, speaks with reporters following a meeting of legisative leaders with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, Friday, June 26, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Ryckman says a plan from Kelly to erase a budget shortfall that arose amid the coronavirus pandemic merely pushes the state’s financial problems off a year. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

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