Kansas News Service

El nuevo coronavirus se está propagando rápidamente por todo el mundo, inclusive por todo Kansas y está provocando una variedad de reacciones. Kansas News Service se está concentrando en acontecimientos cruciales en el estado y está actualizando la situación continuamente aquí.

Esta lista se actualizó por última vez el 30 de marzo a las 1.33 p.m.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Suddenly tossed from their jobs by the coronavirus shutdown, people from across the state continue to deluge the Kansas Department of Labor with a record flood of unemployment claims.

All that instant joblessness is greeted by one small bit of good news: Kansas appears to have squirreled enough money away to cover the surge in unemployment claims for nearly a year.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — It’s hard for Meg Heriford to tell people they’re no longer allowed to walk into her restaurant. She runs the Ladybird Diner in downtown Lawrence, one of the first restaurants in town to close when coronavirus cases spiked in the U.S.

After one crowded lunch service, Heriford said, she could no longer justify the risk to her staff or customers. The restaurant closed March 14, though she and a small number of staff haven’t stopped working. The Ladybird is offering free bagged lunches for anyone who needs them. Heriford buys the food from her usual distributor, prepares it and leaves it on carts in front of the restaurant.

TOPEKA, Kansas — A Democrat hasn’t won a U.S. Senate race in Kansas since the early days of the Great Depression.

It took that economic crisis to propel George McGill, riding on Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal coattails, to a win. And he served but a single term.

This year, the country finds itself on the cusp of another economic calamity. The COVID-19 epidemic sent the stock market into convulsions, forced all range of business and campaigning into hibernation and put life in limbo.

At least six female athletes at the University of Kansas reported they experienced unwanted touching from a massage therapist who was recently charged with a child sex crime, the school said Tuesday. 

Investigators also discovered that an athletic trainer knew of “unwarranted and unwanted touching” by Shawn O’Brien, but the school said in an email to staff and students that the trainer did not “appropriately report the conduct, as it is required by the university.”

Update: Sedgwick County has finalized its stay-home order.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — Six Kansas counties are ordering residents to stay home unless they’re buying groceries, getting health care or carrying out other essential tasks.

The orders apply in Wyandotte, Johnson, Leavenworth, Douglas, Miami and Doniphan counties. Gov. Laura Kelly said she’s not ready to issue her own statewide shelter-in-place order, but that could change.

Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service

GARDEN CITY, Kansas As news of COVID-19 unfolds daily, so does the devastation caused by the virus. And a growing desire to help people hit hardest by the many ripple effects.

KANSAS NEWS SERVICE/FILE PHOTO

Small businesses in Kansas could get government loans to help them survive the effects of the coronavirus pandemic within a matter of days.  

Gov. Laura Kelly announced a new $5 million fund to get zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 to the hospitality industry.

The loans aim to help businesses with fewer than 100 employees get the cash they need now, for things like meeting payroll and covering their utility bills.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — With public and private school buildings closed until August, education officials want students to limit their screen time and spend less than three hours a day learning.

A report released Thursday directs districts to spend five days assessing students’ technology needs, building lesson plans and telling parents what to expect. Districts are required to submit a plan to the state for doing so by early April.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The week started with a Kansas House Democrat making an unusual request to not just his fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but to the Lord: “Please nudge our counterparts in the Senate. Please help them to work with a little more urgency.”

With the threat of the new coronavirus growing by the day — businesses were shutting down, universities moving fully online — legislators knew time was running out to pass the state’s budget for the next fiscal year. The action was pretty much restricted to the Statehouse’s document room and the chambers. No visitors or school groups in the halls of the Capitol, the hearing rooms empty, the whole place a reminder of how quickly things changed.

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL/CDC.GOV

Thirteen new cases of COVID-19 in Kansas were confirmed by state health officials on Thursday. That bring the state's total to 34, including one death in Kansas City, Kan.  

A 52-year-old Cherokee County man tested positive on Wednesday, marking the first case in the southeast corner of the state.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — Kansas’ prisons and many of its county jails have suspended in-person visits indefinitely to keep down the risk of coronavirus spreading among inmates. The only exception is lawyers, who will be allowed to visit their clients.

Correctional facilities’ close quarters and lower health care quality means there’s a higher likelihood of COVID-19 virus spreading, though state and county facilities say they are doing what they can to keep things clean — asking for frequent hand washing, wiping down transport vehicles and phones and frequently scrubbing prison dining halls and gathering spaces.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday ordered all of the state’s schools closed for the remainder of the academic year, taking her most dramatic action yet to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Kansas.

The governor’s decision came while all the state’s schools were shut down either for spring break or to slow the spread of the new coronavirus — some under orders from county health departments. In particular, the largest school systems in Kansas had either moved to online instruction or stretched out those spring breaks.

STEPHEN KORANDA / KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

Kansans could see more road work under a 10-year transportation plan given preliminary approval Monday by the state Senate.

About half of Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s $10 billion plan would go to repairing highways and bridges.

Corinne Boyer

Three Kansas universities announced Monday that they'll be holding classes online for the rest of the semester.

Due to the coronavirus, Kansas State University, Wichita State University and Fort Hays State University will move all classes online when they return from spring break on March 30th. The University of Kansas followed suit on Tuesday.

KANSAS NEWS SERVICE/FILE PHOTO

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly ramped up the state response to the coronavirus Monday, by banning all gatherings of more than 50 people.

The mandate is in effect for at least eight weeks.

Angie Haflich/HPPR

Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran says he is not satisfied with a bill meant to alleviate the financial impact of the new coronavirus.

The senator joined doctors at KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, Monday to provide updates about the federal response to the pandemic.

Kansas lawmakers are making contingency plans in case the spread of the coronavirus forces an early end to the 2020 legislative session. A shortened session would lessen the chances of lawmakers resolving their differences on abortion and Medicaid expansion before heading home.

Susan Wagle, the Republican president of the Kansas Senate, is blocking consideration of a bipartisan expansion bill until the House approves a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution. Attempts by legislative leaders to end the stalemate appear to be making little progress.

TOPEKA, Kansas — A man in his 70s who lived in a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County is the first known death from the new coronavirus in Kansas, state officials said Thursday night. The man was not among the state’s official count of cases, which had risen to four earlier in the day. 

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly also has declared a state of emergency, which gives the government more power to marshal resources and triggers the state's response plan.

Update: 7:30 p.m.

A 70-year-old man who lived in a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County is the first known death from the new coronavirus in Kansas, state officials said Thursday night.

Kansas also has declared a state of emergency, which gives the government more power to marshal resources and triggers the state's response plan.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The University of Kansas and Kansas State University have both delayed the start of classes until March 23, with online classes to follow and the possibility of continuing online-only for weeks after that due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Before June 2018, finding cattle that were potentially exposed to diseases was time-consuming and complicated, requiring a patchwork of information from auction houses, feedlots, producers and meatpacking plants.

That’s when Kansas spearheaded U.S. CattleTrace, filling a void when it comes to tracing deadly diseases in live cattle and possibly opening up new global markets for beef. Nine other states have signed onto the pilot program, which has distributed 65,000 ultra high-frequency tags that are scanned just like your online purchases.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The state lost 13% of its public defenders over the past year.

That’s actually an improvement. Nearly a fourth of the state’s public defenders quit the year before.

But the turnover of those attorneys still represents a chronic problem for the State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services, the agency that provides lawyers to criminal defendants who can’t afford their own.

Maban Wright makes $66,000 as one of those public defenders, up from the $43,000 she earned at the agency 10 years ago.

SHAWNEE, Kansas — Field biologist Matt Garrett kept a close eye on the smoke rising from a patch of prairie that burned during a controlled fire. He stayed in constant communication with his team.

“The sun is going to hit this and warm the soil and you’re going to see these native prairie plants emerging really soon out of this charred landscape,” Garrett said, describing the burn the day after.

It’s a routine to strengthen the health of a prairie that happens every spring all across Kansas’ Flint Hills. But Garrett wasn't in the Flint Hills. He burned part of Shawnee Mission Park in Johnson County, less than a mile from homes and businesses.

TOPEKA, Kansas — If Kansas lawmakers pass a bill allowing student-athletes to make money off endorsements, you might see the next five-star KU or K-State basketball recruits selling cars, shoes or soda.

Dozens of states, including Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, are thinking about changing the rules since the NCAA said in October that it will eventually allow student-athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness. These bills are stopgaps, aimed at putting rules in place should there be a period of time before national rules are approved by the NCAA or Congress.

This story was updated at 7 p.m., March 7.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas has its first case of the new coronavirus, officials announced Saturday. 

The Johnson County woman infected with the virus appears to have contracted her illness while traveling in the northeastern United States, state and local public health officials said at a Statehouse news conference early Saturday evening. She was tested earlier this week for COVID-19. 

Corinne Boyer / Kansas News Service

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — All of Western Kansas has just one shelter for children who are in protective custody or are victims of sex trafficking. The new shelter isn’t taking kids yet, because it’s waiting on its license, but local officials say those 14 beds are needed.

Centers for Disease Control/cdc.gov

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says health officials are preparing for coronavirus, because it’s likely only a matter of time until it shows up in the state.

Kansas has a laboratory certified to test up to 60 samples a day for coronavirus. That means the results take only a few hours. Most people who get the illness have mild symptoms.

Meanwhile, Kelly urges Kansans to take steps that can help prevent the spread illnesses like coronavirus or the flu.

TOPEKA, Kansas — A pressure campaign led by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly aims to force Republican Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle to drop her blockade of a vote to expand Medicaid.

A majority of state senators back the plan, virtually assuring its passage if Wagle allowed a vote.

But Wagle, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, insists that the Legislature first put an anti-abortion amendment to the Kansas Constitution up for a statewide vote.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas has one of the highest rates of suspended drivers in the country, and the majority of those more than 215,000 licenses are suspended for unpaid fines or court fees — sometimes unrelated to driving. 

Both the Kansas House and Senate approved separate bills last month aimed at getting drivers back on the road. While some advocates say the state could do more, others are concerned any changes will lead to hundreds of thousands less for the court system. 

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