Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Ann Lo, flickr Creative Commons

BELLE PLAINE — Kansas counties that have mask mandates in place have seen a rapid drop in cases, while counties that only recommend their use have seen no decrease in cases, the state’s top health official said Wednesday.

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — For almost three months, people living in a mobile home neighborhood just east of Garden City’s limits haven’t been able to drink their tap water.

Residents could boil their water to drink and cook. But on June 30, a new health order advised households not to use the water for drinking, cooking, making baby formula or brushing teeth.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

WICHITA, Kansas — A month ago, the University of Kansas Hospital had as few as nine of its beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. Now, it’s about twice that.

When the coronavirus-driven statewide shutdown began to go away in mid-May, clinicians in Kansas were confirming about 100 new infections a day. Now, that number has tripled.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas’ top public health official predicted Wednesday that the state will face steeper increases in coronavirus cases and suggested that it blew its chance for a summer respite from the pandemic by reopening its economy too quickly.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas’ top public health administrator said Thursday that the state has reached the point of being able to test 2% of its population for the novel coronavirus each month and plans to send a mobile lab to communities to help with testing.

A Lenexa lab is marketing coronavirus antibody tests that are not federally approved as a way for nursing homes to figure out which workers don’t pose a threat to residents.

State health officials and medical experts say the claims that the tests would provide facilities peace of mind are “wrong” and “risky.” The president of Great Plains Laboratory Inc., William Shaw, canceled an interview with the Kansas News Service. In an email, he said he had not reviewed the sales pitch before it went out.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service/File photo

State and local orders still in place for checking the spread of the novel coronavirus in Kansas are facing legal challenges from the state’s attorney general and business owners.

KMUW File photo

Wichita hospitals and dental offices are making plans to end their coronavirus pause and begin a return to full operations.

Wesley Healthcare CEO William Voloch says elective surgeries and imaging will resume Monday on a limited basis.

"We’re not going to go full-scale," he says. "We are not going to be doing everything that we were doing, but this is a way for us to start."

He says the hospital group has enough capacity and ventilator supply to serve a greater number of patients. Wesley also plans to reevaluate its restricted visitation policy.

Lawrence, KANSAS — The looming expiration date on Kansas’ statewide stay-at-home order worries Mary and Gary House of southeast Kansas.

Though they’re staying in as much as possible now, once life returns to normal that will change. Gary, age 79, is an attorney who defends criminal cases in Chautauqua, Montgomery and Elk counties.

He thinks of the exposure to the novel coronavirus he could face in a single jury selection.

“They may bring in 70 or 80 prospective jurors to question,” he said. “So, you’re just around a lot of people.”

LAWRENCE, KANSAS — Herington Municipal Hospital got fed up with long waits for lab results that would tell its patients with respiratory symptoms whether they have the novel coronavirus.

So when a sales representative called the 25-bed hospital in rural central Kansas offering tests that produce results in less than half an hour, Herington ordered 500.

“We answered the phone on the right day,” CEO Isabel Schmedemann said in an interview this week. “I wish we had ordered more.”

One hundred people in her community have already come in for the test.

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