COVID-19

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA — Coronavirus cases are at record levels. Just in time to pretty much ruin Thanksgiving.

In Kansas, those cases have hospitals worried about having enough space or staff. That’s prompted local, state and federal officials to urge people to just stay home.

We spoke with three Kansans about their decisions to cancel trips to see family — and the loss that represents.

In Kansas counties that adopted mask rules last summer, the spread of COVID-19 slowed, new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

The study by federal and state epidemiologists suggests that if more counties follow suit, it could help stem a disastrous groundswell that has hospitals in Kansas and across the Midwest reeling.

KMUW/File photo

Nearly two months after Gov. Laura Kelly announced that Kansas would develop a "unified" strategy to ramp up coronavirus testing, the program is enough of a work in progress that even some of the state's contractors don't yet have all the details.

Nadya Faul / KMUW/File photo

The city of Wichita said it will work with Sedgwick County to enforce the county’s new public health order.

The order passed last week tightens restrictions on certain businesses and mass gatherings, and it requires masks in most public spaces. It also lays out possible penalties for violations, the first time the county has adopted enforcement measures.

Fernando Salazar / Wichita Journalism Collaborative

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is again pressing a statewide mask requirement to tame a coronavirus surge that has filled the state’s intensive care beds and left at least one major hospital caring for patients in hallways.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service/File photo

TOPEKA — Kansas can’t help at least half of the struggling small businesses seeking relief because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Monday, calling for additional federal aid as the state reported another record for new coronavirus cases.


Stephan Bisaha / kmuw

Wichita's board of education voted Monday to extend Thanksgiving break an two extra days.

Students and staff will now take Nov. 23 and 24 off, giving them a full work week away from the classroom — both in-person and virtually.

The district said it's running short on teachers and substitutes as the rise in COVID-19 cases in Sedgwick Counties forces employees to isolate and quarantine. 

Superintendent Alicia Thompson told the board it's been a rough couple of weeks.

Hospitals in Colorado and Nebraska are calling Kansas in desperate search of beds for coronavirus patients. But Kansas hospitals are asking them for the same.

November has brought on the strongest surge yet of the coronavirus across the region — and that’s before Thanksgiving gathers families together.

“The entire Midwest is on fire,” said Steven Stites, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System.

Courtesy Wesley Medical Center

After nearly 100 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Wesley Medical Center, a COVID-19 patient is finally home.

Antonio Santiago entered Wesley back in August. He says there were moments in the hospital where he wasn’t so hopeful.

"I thought I was going to die."

Ninety-eight days later, nurses and hospital staff lined up to send Santiago off.

While being escorted out of the hospital, he had a smile so big not even a mask could hide it.

"I’m so happy to be back in my home again," he said. "God allowed me to be back here with my family and friends."

Beth Golay / KMUW/File photo

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple says the city will take action against businesses that openly defy a new county health order meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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