Gov. Laura Kelly to switch KS COVID-19 response to endemic

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly
Posted at 2:06 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 15:06:31-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday she is directing the state to transition its COVID-19 response from a pandemic to an endemic.

The move comes a day after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson made a similar announcement.

In a press release announcing the transition, Kelly cited the state’s improving COVID-19 metrics, testing supplies and vaccine distribution.

Like Missouri, the transition in Kansas is set to take effect April 1.

“We know the pandemic is not over, however we now have the tools and knowledge obtained over the past two years to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus,” Kelly said in the release. “We are normalizing our COVID-19 response and incorporating these lessons into our larger efforts at improving health outcomes for all Kansans, which includes work on multiple diseases and an awareness of differing risk factors.”

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it will continue to provide assistance around intervention, vaccination and treatment.

Testing will continue to be free through various sites across the state, though KDHE says the testing would remain free only while federal funding remains.

Like Missouri, public reporting of data will be reduced to once a week.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, state health officials report 770,082 COVID-19 cases in the state. More than 8,290 Kansans have died from the disease.

The state reports that 54 percent of the population has completed a vaccine series. More than 716,000 Kansans have taken a booster shot.

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