Kansas to receive 870,000 rapid COVID-19 tests from federal government

Posted at 5:13 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 18:13:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gov. Laura Kelly said Monday Kansas is getting some help from the federal government in efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in her state.

Last week, the state announced a new unified testing strategy. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is in phase one of the strategy, which involves coordinating public and private testing efforts.

In order to test the Kansas population safely, Kelly said Monday, the state needs access to more test kits, swabs, personal protective equipment and other tools.

The federal government is coming through on one of those fronts, sending 870,000 tests to Kansas as part of more than 100 million it's distributing nationwide.

Kelly said the state had already received its first shipment, which included 57,000 tests. The remaining 813,000 will be shipped over the course of the next three months, Kelly said.

"I want to commend the White House for working with governors to ensure that we have the tests we need on hand... as we implement our unified testing strategies. These newly available tests will support our efforts to protect Kansans in nursing homes, schools, and correctional facilities," Kelly said.

Kansas' new strategy calls for increased routine testing in areas with continues high community spread, including "at-risk congregate settings" such as nursing homes, jails and schools.

The strategy aims to more quickly identify COVID-19 hotspots so Kansans can take the appropriate precautions.

Kelly said the new testing is part of her administration's larger framework to fight the spread of the virus.

The governor again emphasized that the pandemic is not a political issue, and urged residents of her state to continue to take the virus seriously.

I know the politics has clouded this public health conversation, and unfortunately, as we approached this upcoming election, many of our friends and neighbors and family have become dug in on their respective political sides. As a result, it's increasingly, increasingly difficult for us to talk to, or listen to one another," Kelly said. "But I have to tell you, this virus will be spreading in our communities, regardless of the election results, until we all take the threat seriously and act accordingly."