TOPEKA, Kan. – During her press conference on Wednesday, Governor Laura Kelly announced that she was extending the home stay order until May 3. She’s working with Missouri Governor Mike Parson, the area’s executives and mayors to determine another path after that.

The Democratic governor maintains the housing arrangement until May 3, not Sunday, and continues to limit personal services and other religious gatherings to 10 people or fewer.

This restriction has led to criticism from the Republican-controlled legislature. Kelly convened a meeting of the Republican-dominated State Treasury Council in hopes of helping hospitals. Kansas now has 1,494 confirmed coronavirus cases and 76 COVID-19 related deaths.

Additionally, she said she convened a conference call with key Kansas lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon to consider helping hospitals and funding to cover costs related to the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

She scheduled the session with lawmakers just four days after successfully foiling attempts by top Republicans to revoke an order restricting personal worship and other religious gatherings to 10 people or fewer. It has also been criticized by the GOP for having struggled with the state Department of Labor to cope with a huge surge in unemployment claims.

HELP HOSPITALS

Kelly convened a meeting of the Republican-dominated State Treasury Council in hopes of helping hospitals and releasing state funds to the Adjutant General’s department, which oversees the state’s response to emergencies. The council is the governor and top eight lawmakers, six of whom are Republicans, and it makes some financial decisions when the GOP-controlled legislature is not in session.

STATISTICS

Nationwide, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, rose to 1,426 on Tuesday, 50 more than on Monday. The number of deaths rose by seven to 69.

Nursing homes have been particularly harsh as the Clearwater Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Sedgwick County joined these fighting outbreaks. The facility has four cases and one fatality, reports The Wichita Eagle.

It has a one-out-of-five star rating on the Medicare website, which ranks long-term care facilities based on past inspections, quotes, and complaints. The facility’s owner, Willie Novotny, said the concerns raised during the Medicare inspection had nothing to do with the outbreak.

Meanwhile, a diverse retail store in Garden City, western Kansas called Tienda Variedades Candy has been linked to multiple coronavirus cases, and now public health officials are warning shoppers that they may have been exposed there last month.

Projections conducted by the University of Washington have postponed the COVID-19 peak for Kansas to April 29. Kelly’s order that people must stay home except for essential business such as grocery stores expired on Sunday, but it signaled last week that it would likely extend it. Some communities are already curbing public gatherings further, with Manhattan announcing it will close its pools for the summer.

Racial differences

Black Kansans were disproportionately affected, at 109 cases per 100,000 residents, compared with 31 cases per 100,000 whites on Tuesday. However, the date is incomplete due to the lack of racist data in 24% of cases.

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Kelly described the trend in a written statement as “alarming” and said that it “points to health inequalities – some of which could have been addressed if Kansas had expanded Medicaid”.

NO POWER SHUTDOWN

In the midst of the outbreak, the Kansas Utilities Regulatory Authority on Tuesday extended an emergency order prohibiting utilities from suspending service to customers who are currently unable to pay their bills, The Wichita Eagle reported. The new regulation prohibits the shutdown of electricity and natural gas suppliers due to state regulation due to non-payment of bills until May 15.

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