Last week saw the highest average number of COVID-19 cases per day in a single week since the pandemic began, with an average of over 700 cases per day, Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news conference Tuesday.
There have also been an increase in hospitalizations and clusters, with 65 Kansans dying last week as well, she said.
In total, Kansas has had 67,862 cases and 3,239 hospitalizations, as well as 771 deaths.
"Your efforts can seem like it’s in vain when you hear news of our record-breaking numbers. But there is still time to turn ... our efforts around," Kelly said.
The governor provided an update to the state’s unified testing strategy, which would create a statewide approach to testing in both private and public spheres.
More importantly, asymptomatic people in high-risk areas will be tested as well, and the end goal is to conduct surveillance testing, where a sample group of people is tested in an effort to determine the virus’s prevalence in a given population.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has posted requests for proposals for communities interested in receiving a portion of the $53 million in CARES Act funding set aside for testing, Kelly said. Communities can begin submitting proposals for consideration.
The state expects to know in late October where the funding will go and will get money out as soon as possible, she said.
Kansas has also joined the Rockfeller Foundation’s COVID-19 Testing Solutions Group, the governor announced, which consists of five states, 21 municipalities and two Native American tribal groups.
The group will meet every two weeks and facilitate exchanges of best practices for public health. Members will also get to share resources with each other in real time, she said.
"By participating in this group, Kansas will create a strong web of COVID-19 testing information that stretches across the country," she said.
Amid all this news, Kelly was asked of accusations of "fear-mongering" by Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, who has been a critic of the governor’s pandemic response.
Kelly dismissed those comments.
"There’s no doubt that the virus is still there, still virulent and we are still battling it as hard as we can," she said. "I’m just giving Kansans the truth and telling them what they need to do to keep themselves and their families ... safe."