Kansas became the 22nd state to issue a statewide stay-home measure on Saturday morning. The order goes into effect on Monday.
Marshall County's emergency management director Bill Schwindamann said it would not change much in the county, which is already under an order from Marshall County commissioners to limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer and other temporary restrictions to prevent coronavirus' spread.
"The county resolution issued earlier in March pretty much took care of everything the state is doing right now," Schwindamann said. "The state issued this is to get everyone on the same page. So it’s a level playing field for all counties. Some counties were a lot stricter and some hadn’t done anything yet. It pretty much just levels things."
To try and stem the pandemic in Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly issued the executive order today for a temporary, statewide stay-home order. The measure will be in place at least until April 19.
“Our modeling continues to suggest that the number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases in Kansas could reach as high as 900 over the next week,” Kelly said. “While I left these decisions to local health departments as long as possible, the reality is that the patchwork approach that has developed is inconsistent and is a recipe for chaos and, ultimately, for failure in our statewide fight to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The order directs Kansans to stay home unless performing one of the following essential activities:
- Obtaining food, medicine and other household necessities;
- Going to and from work at a business or organization performing an essential function as identified in the Kansas Essential Function Framework;
- Seeking medical care;
- Caring for children, family members or pets, or caring for a vulnerable person in another location;
- Engaging in an outdoor activity, provided individuals maintain a distance of six feet from one another and abide by the 10-person limitation on gathering size.
“I know this is hard, and I can’t tell you how much I wish it weren’t necessary,” Kelly said. “But we have a small window to ensure that Kansas does not suffer the same terrible fate of other hard-hit states like New York and Missouri. We’ve all got to do our part to help stop the spread of the disease. Stay home. Stay Safe.”
In a public address to Kansans on Saturday morning, Kelly explained that this action became necessary for three key reasons:
- To provide statewide uniformity in response efforts;
- To prevent overwhelming hospitals – especially rural hospitals – who may not have the same capacity to handle an influx of COVID-19 patients;
- To buy Kansas more time as the state officials work with federal partners to secure badly needed protective personal equipment (PPE), additional ventilators and COVID-19 testing supplies.
Kelly also commended federal efforts in recent days to support state and local response efforts in the form of an historic emergency relief package. More details about implications the federal stimulus bill will have for Kansas will be released as they become available.
The executive order can be viewed here: https://governor.kansas.gov/newsroom/executive-orders/