TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday called the rapidly spreading coronavirus a pandemic. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) held a press conference Wednesday afternoon saying they are working to keep Kansans informed.
KDHE Secretary Lee Norman, MD says that while Kansas still only has one confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus, he expects more cases to come up.
“We are going to get more cases in Kansas,” said Secretary Norman. “We are doing everything we can to understand travel patterns.”
Norman says, of the people who will be infected, up to 80% of those people will show very few or no symptoms at all. Therefore, he says, it’s important that everyone does everything they can to stop the spread of the virus. This includes washing hands properly and often, limiting international and domestic travel, and staying home if feeling sick. Staying home from big events and gatherings may also be beneficial to those who are more prone to getting sick.
With cases popping up across the country, including in bordering states, Secretary Norman says Kansas is working closely with those states to prevent the spread of the disease.
“We have seamless communication with our colleagues because for me, and for all of us I think in public health, it’s not sufficient to say, ‘well that’s not a Kansas problem’,” said Secretary Norman. “If it’s a Missouri problem, it’s our problem. If it’s a Colorado problem, it’s our problem.”
At this time, Secretary Norman says it is not necessary for Kansas schools to close. He says if a student ends up testing positive for the coronavirus, that would change.
“We would probably take that as an opportunity to take a few days off, close the school down, do a very good deep clean, let it sit for a day or two maybe do it one more time before restarting school,” explained Secretary Norman.
The Secretary added that he has been in contact with most schools and universities in Kansas.
Testing for the virus is now able to be done much quicker than even what it was a couple of weeks ago. Norman says that tests are now able to be run in a matter of hours, compared to days. He also says that Kansas is now also able to test more people per day, but only if they are showing symptoms of the virus.
The KDHE website is updated daily with confirmed cases of the coronavirus, as well as other helpful information.