On Saturday morning, Gov. Laura Kelly issued a statewide stay at home order. The order will take effect on Monday and will not expire until April 19.
“For a temporary period of time, Kansans must remain at home,” Kelly said.
People who work in essential jobs, are purchasing food or medicine, are accessing healthcare or are caring for other family members in a different location are exempt from this order. Outside exercise is permitted as long as special distancing guidelines are followed.
“You are not under house arrest,” Kelly said. “I know this hard and I can’t tell you how much I wish this wasn’t necessary, but this is our window to ensure Kansas does not suffer the terrible fate of other hard hit states.”
Kelly said previously the state requested a federal emergency disaster declaration to open pathways to more resources needed to slow to the spread of COVID-19. The decision to declare a stay at home order falls in line with ongoing efforts to battle the virus.
“We believe that there are more cases of COVID-19 than we have confirmed to date,” Kelly said.
Kelly said models indicate that the number of confirmed positive cases of the novel coronavirus could reach 900 by next week. She also said Kansas is still waiting on the necessary equipment to fight the virus from the federal government.
“We’re simply not ready for what we anticipate will be the peak of this pandemic,” Kelly said.
The decision to add Kansas to the growing list of state’s issuing stay at home orders was “difficult, but unavoidable,” Kelly said. “We’re going to help provide more consistency and stability across the state.”
A number of counties have already issued stay at home orders, including Riley County. The majority of Kansans are currently under county-instituted stay at home orders, Kelly said.
“The reality is that a patchwork approach is a recipe for confusion in our statewide fight to slow the spread of coronavirus,” Kelly said. “Statewide uniformity will ensure we’re all playing by the same rules, and it will help prevent an influx of new cases for local health departments, many of which are already stretched to the [maximum].”
It is possible that the order could be extended.