Governor issues state of emergency following first COVID-19 death in Kansas

(File photo by Katelin Woods | Collegian Media Group)

Following the first COVID-19-related death in Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly issued an emergency declaration on Thursday which will allow the state to use resources and personnel to respond in counties affected by the spreading pandemic.

“Our state is well prepared,” Kelly said. “With this emergency declaration we can activate our response and coordinate fully. This is part of the process and will make access to important resources more accessible. We continue to work closely with our local, state and federal partners to respond to the potential spread of the virus – or any situation that may arise.”

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the man who died was in his 70s and lived in a Wyandotte County nursing home. He died on Wednesday and was posthumously diagnosed. It is unclear how he contracted the virus.

“The safety and well-being of Kansans is our priority, first and foremost,” Kelly said. “The landscape of COVID-19 is fast-changing. Today is evidence of that.”

Earlier on Thursday, the department reported three new cases of the virus in Johnson County. The new cases presented in three individuals who are believed to have contracted the virus while at a conference in Florida.

One previous case of COVID-19 was reported in Johnson County at the end of last week.

“It’s important to live your lives, but it’s also important to take basic precautions like exercising good hygiene practices. It is up to each of us to do our part,” KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said.

My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the ex-managing editor and audience engagement manager of the Collegian. Previously, I've been the editor-in-chief and the news editor. In the past, I have also contributed to the Royal Purple Yearbook and KKSU-TV. Off-campus, you can find my bylines in the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT News. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a senior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third-generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage.