Coronavirus

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Bowling alleys in Wichita and across the county are facing their darkest winter yet. They are not only trying to survive the pandemic, but they also have to rebuild a customer base that took decades to grow.

Robert Carter and his wife Mary Ridenour drove up to an alleyway behind First Metropolitan Community Church on a cold December morning in Wichita.

After waiting in a line of cars that sometimes backed up for blocks, they greeted The Rev. Jackie Carter, no relation, but a familiar face, who spoke their names into a walkie talkie.

Within minutes, volunteers had packed the food into their car and moved on to the next family.

“I don’t know what we’d do without this place,” Robert Carter said. “When you have four kids, they give you enough.”

LAWRENCE, Kansas — In north Lawrence, the city set up 20 white-and-gray tents in a park to house people who are homeless.

It’s not health care, or COVID-19 tests, but federal coronavirus tax dollars are paying for the camp.

“If we put our homeless population into the shelter, there’s a higher chance that they’ll get the virus and then they’ll spread it across the community,” Douglas County Commissioner Patrick Kelly said.

Morry Gash / AP

Hospitals across Kansas have started vaccinating frontline health care workers against COVID-19.

Public health officials have said a widely available vaccine will ultimately control the pandemic that has killed almost 2,500 people in the state.

As the vaccines become available to the general public, America Amplified is gathering and curating answers from experts to questions on the minds of public radio listeners across the country.

Leoti Masterson hasn’t seen her son, Jeff, since March. She used to visit him at the Winfield Correctional Facility once a week to play cards, reminisce and pray together, sometimes for hours at a time.

But when the pandemic started, Kansas prisons stopped allowing visitors as a coronavirus precaution. Now, Masterson makes do with daily phone calls no longer than 20 minutes.

“He’s my closest family member,” Masterson said. “So, yeah, this is hard.”

cdc.gov

TOPEKA — Doses from Kansas’ first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine were arriving Thursday in rural Kansas for hospitals to administer to health care workers, though the state expects its second shipment to be smaller than anticipated.

commerce.senate.gov/Screenshot

The co-owner of two Wichita music venues testified before Congress on Tuesday that his industry "desperately" needs help.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — Consider the mounting money problems facing public universities in Kansas.

Decades of ballooning tuition have made students and their families increasingly worried about college debt. Tech schools offer cheaper faster paths to a solid job. Help from taxpayers has waned.

Then came the pandemic. Campuses had to spend heavily to retool for safety during the outbreak. Still, large numbers of students and the money they would have spent on dorms, tuition and the like stayed away.

Wichita Eagle

Health care workers in Wichita were among the first in the state to get the new COVID-19 vaccination.

Five employees of the Ascension Via Christi health system received shots at St. Francis Hospital Monday.  The hospital says a critical care nurse, a housekeeper for a COVID-19 unit and a respiratory therapist were among those who were vaccinated.  Frontline health workers at other Ascension Via Christi facilities in Kansas will receive the vaccination later this week.

El Alvi / Flickr Creative Commons

TOPEKA — Kansas does not plan to send personal information to the federal government about residents who receive coronavirus vaccines, though it has signed a data-use agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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