County Commission Meetings Now On Youtube

The Bourbon County Commission room, September 2018.

Bourbon County provides a service for those who wish to be in the know about the weekly commission meetings but do not wish to come in person due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A YouTube channel was set up by Shane Walker, the information technology director.

YouTube is a  video-sharing website on the internet.

“The (Bourbon County) YouTube channel is for nothing more than to broadcast the commission meetings during the pandemic,” Walker said.  “We have a small area for meetings.  It made sense to set it up so that citizens could view meetings without risk.”

” We are working hard to keep people safe and still allow us to do business for everyone and this is just another part of that effort,” he said.

YouTube will not be used election night because the system had to be taken down so that the Bourbon County Clerk could use the commission room for voting and election duties, he said.

“All Bourbon County employees have access, and can edit our web page and also our Facebook page,” Walker said.  “All of our department heads have this ability to put information out to the public.”

The unofficial November 3, 2020 General  Election results will be posted on the county website that evening when they have them, according to Kendell Mason, Bourbon County Clerk.

 

 

About the Bourbon County  Information Technology Department. taken from its’ website:

Walker is the Director of Information Technology

The office is located in the Bourbon County Courthouse, 210 S National Ave., Office 12, Fort Scott, KS 66701

Contact: 620-223-3800 X127 or email at
swalker@bourboncountyks.org

The Bourbon County Information Technology Department provides services to county departments to aid in the effective delivery of IT services that support the business needs of the county. County information technology is a vital part of the organization, providing faster and better ways for our employees to do their jobs and for our residents to access our services. They continue to keep technology current and to work with members and management of all departments to provide the computing capabilities that are needed.

Vision 
The vision is to enable each county department to better serve the public through the best and highest use of appropriate technology, using creative, progressive, and economical IT solutions with uncompromising quality, reliability, and efficiency.

Mission
To provide organizational and individual leadership in IT by researching, evaluating, planning, implementing, and supporting appropriate technologies, designed to assist county departments in accomplishing their visions and missions and to apply technology and best practices that make the delivery of government services affordable, efficient, accessible, and responsive to the citizens of Bourbon County.

AD: Lynn Grant For Kansas Representative District 2

Lynn Grant. Submitted photo.

Lynn Grant. Submitted photo.

Lynn D. Grant, the longtime city councilor and widow of 10-term Kansas legislator Bob Grant, is running for her late husband’s seat representing Kansas State House District 2.

Kansas State House of Representatives District 2 includes most of Crawford County, the eastern 1/3 of Allen and Neosho Counties, and a small portion of SW Bourbon County.

“I have been involved in the community that is SEK for over 50 years,” said Grant, who was born in Overland Park, but moved southeast to attend Pittsburg State University and never left. “This is my home. Now I hope to honor Bob’s legacy by representing the constituents of the second district in Topeka.”

Here are the key issues, Grant said:

Transportation   Good highways, bridges and railways are essential to not only the safety of Kansans, but to the positive economic development needed in Southeast Kansas. Locally, US 69 must always be a top priority and Highway 7 north of Girard needs critical attention.

Jobs/economy    In order to attract businesses that will create full time, good paying jobs, I will support efforts to establish responsible tax policies and to protect education and infrastructure.

Public Education    I am passionate about the Legislature supporting public education. That begins with fair funding of early childhood through post-secondary education, be it technical, trade or higher education, so all students have endless possibilities for their future. Good education is the cornerstone for a good society. It is also the best investment we can make for the good of our communities.

Local government control    Representatives to local government know our needs, priorities and are elected by the people in their community. I object to the current trend of the state making decisions for local governments and handing down mandates that adversely affect the ability of local governments to do their jobs.

Health Care   I believe that all Kansans deserve affordable health care.  I will fight the tax policies and callous decisions that have contributed to lack of adequate treatment and facilities for those who undergo any kind of illness. Expansion of Medicaid MUST be on the table in the next Legislative session. We are judged by the way we treat our most vulnerable.

Higher Ed   Kansas must support the institutions that allow students to pursue a college education. Post-secondary education enables people to learn and follow a path to a productive life no matter what course of study they choose. These institutions are drivers in economical benefits for their communities through employment and the services required for students.

Judiciary   There are three, separate, independent branches of government because those checks and balances are essential to maintaining a system that is of, by and for the people.

Food Insecurity   With the decline of our small towns and their grocery stores, Kansas is beginning to experience “food deserts.” This doesn’t mean the food is not available, but that healthy food is increasingly hard to get. The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods . . .”

People are getting fed but not in a way that contributes to overall good health.

We need to examine ways to rectify that to protect people of all ages in our communities.

 

* I respect all life from the preborn to those making end of life decisions. Health care, care for women before and after giving birth, education, fighting poverty, providing safe homes for foster children, taking care of our seniors, respecting the dignity of all. This is all pro-life.

*I respect the 2nd Amendment and have never considered taking away guns as an option. I have always supported reasonable, safe  gun ownership.

Lynn Grant. Submitted photo.

Paid for by Grant for Kansas, Becky Messinger, Treasurer

 

AD: Vote Democratic 2020

Vote Here sign at the Bourbon County Courthouse.

Vote Democratic

2020

Democratic Party Values include:

Truth

Safe and Affordable Education for All

Patriotism

Freedom

Health Care for All

Fair Wage for a Day’s Labor

Empathy

Right to Vote for all Citizens

Compassion

These candidates are fighting for your values in Bourbon County

Bourbon County Offices ——————————————

Mike Feagins – Sheriff

Mike Feagins. Submitted photo.

Phillip Hoyt – Commissioner, 3rd District

State Offices ————————————————————-

Bill Meyer – KS Representative, 4th District

Bill Meyer. Submitted photo.

Lynn Grant – KS Representative, 2nd District

Lynn Grant. Submitted photo.

Nancy Ingle – KS Senate, 13th District

Nancy Ingle. Submitted photo.

Mike Bruner – KS Senate, 12th District

Mike Bruner. Submitted photo.

National Offices ————————————————————————-

Michelle De La Isla — US Representative, 2nd District

Michelle De La Isla. Submitted photo.

Barbara Bollier – US Senate

Barbara Bollier. Submitted photo.

Joe Biden – US President

Joe Biden. Submitted photo.

Paid for by the Bourbon County Democratic Party; Shirley Palmer, Treasurer

 

AD: Nancy Ingle for Kansas State Senate Dist. 13

(click to watch video on youtube)

“I will always put SE Kansas FIRST!
Our communities deserve the best schools for our children, safe highways, access to quality, affordable healthcare, and economic development.”

  • Born & raised in Southeast Kansas
  • Graduate of Pittsburg High School
  • Graduate of Kansas State Teachers College, now Pittsburg State
  • Law degree from Washburn University
  • Former assistant county attorney in the Crawford County Attorney’s office
  • Former assistant of policy for Governor John Carlin
  • Dedicated 20 years of career to protecting the rights and medical care of patients of clinical trials

Please contact me if you have questions:
Email: Ingle4StateSenate@gmail.com
Facebook: Nancy Ingle for State Senate

Paid for by Ingle for State Senate, Steve Langerot, Treasurer.

Struggling To Pay Utilities?

Cold Weather Rule takes effect Sunday, November 1

TOPEKA – The Cold Weather Rule, designed to help Kansans who are behind on their utility payments avoid disconnection during the winter months, will begin on November 1 and remain in effect through March 31.

While the Cold Weather Rule is in effect, utility companies cannot disconnect a customer’s service when local temperatures are forecast to drop below 35 degrees within the following 48-hour period. The Kansas Corporation Commission, the agency that regulates public utilities in the state, implemented the rule in 1983 to prevent utility companies from disconnecting a customer’s natural gas or electric service during periods of extreme cold.

The Cold Weather Rule also requires utility companies to offer a 12-month payment plan to allow consumers to maintain or re-establish service. Any residential customer with a past due balance will qualify for payment arrangements; however, it is the customer’s responsibility to contact their gas or electric company to make those arrangements.

Payment plan terms to maintain or restore service require that customers agree to pay 1/12th of the total amount owed, 1/12th of the current bill, the full amount of any disconnection or reconnection fee, plus any applicable deposit to the utility. The remaining balance must be paid in equal payments over the next 11 months, in addition to the current monthly bill.

The Cold Weather Rule applies only to residential customers of electric and natural gas utility companies under the KCC’s jurisdiction. More information about the Cold Weather Rule is available on the Commission’s website (http://www.kcc.ks.gov/consumer-information/cold-weather-rule). Kansans may also contact their local utility company or the KCC’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at (800) 662-0027.

 

 

COVID-19 Protective Equipment Distribution Program

Governor Laura Kelly Announces New KCDHH, DCF Visible Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Distribution Program

~Visible PPE Available to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals, Their Family Members and Personal Caretakers~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH), in collaboration with the Kansas Department for Children and Families, is making visible personal protective equipment (PPE) available to deaf and hard of hearing individuals, their family members, and/or personal caretakers.

“Since the pandemic began, my administration has prioritized ensuring that all Kansans have access to the resources they need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and stay healthy,” Governor Kelly said. “I commend the Department of Children and Families and the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for making this program available to those who need it, and I encourage all eligible Kansans to apply.”

This visible PPE program, made possible through funding provided by the federal CARES Act, offers each individual the option of obtaining face shields or clear/smile masks (either adult or child size). All visible PPE’s are made with see-through materials to allow for lip-reading and non-verbal facial expressions.

“This visible PPE program fulfills a need of deaf and hard of hearing Kansans,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, with masks being essential for all individuals, making visible PPE available, affordable and accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community is imperative.”

“Deaf and hard of hearing individuals rely on full facial expression and especially lips movement to get the full meaning of other person’s expressed messages,” Robert Cooper, KCDHH executive director, said. “Visible PPE is crucial to ensure successful communication with deaf and hard of hearing individuals.”

Each individual may request two items, and each household is limited to four face shields and/or total 10 PPE items. Consideration is on a first-come, first serve basis, while supplies last.

This program is only available to Kansas residents.

Anyone interested in requesting Visible PPE should use the online request form found here: http://bit.ly/KansasVisiblePPE.

KCDHH will use the email address listed on the request form (or phone if you do not have email) to contact you if there are further questions about eligibility or delivery information. Expect about two to four weeks for processing and/or distribution. If you have trouble using the form or have questions, please contact Megan.Essary@ks.gov​ or 785-368-8034; or VP 785-246-5077. ​

Halloween Guidelines In A Pandemic

KS Dept. of Health and Environment Guidance for Celebrating Halloween, September 2020

This document outlines guidance and considerations for celebrating Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic. As typical Halloween celebrations do not allow for minimizing contact with non-household members, it is important to plan early and identify safer alternatives. Refer also to any specific city or county guidance in your community which may be more restrictive than what is outlined below.

Halloween Activities Not Recommended

• Gatherings, events, or parties with non-household members
• Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment, and haunted house attractions
• Door to door trick or treating – It is very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors, ensure everyone (trick or treaters and residents of homes being visited) are properly wearing face coverings, and because food sharing is risky.
• “Trunk or treating” – It is difficult to avoid crowding and sharing food at such events.
• Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.

Recommended

• Online parties or contests (e.g., costume contests, pumpkin carving)
• Car parades
o Drive by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate vehicles and drive by judges that are appropriately physically distanced
o Drive through events where individuals remain in vehicles and drive through an area with Halloween displays
o Drive in events where individuals receive a treat bag (with commercially packaged, non-perishable treats) or take away item from an organizer while the participants remain in their vehicle
• Halloween movie nights at drive in theaters
• Halloween themed meals at outdoor restaurants, complying with restaurant protocol
• Halloween themed art installations at an outdoor museum, complying with museum protocol
• Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween themed decorations

Personal Protection Measures

Regardless of how you celebrate, there are important recommendations for how to keep yourself and your household members safe.

• Correctly wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home and around others who are not part of your household.
• Avoid confined spaces, including indoor spaces that don’t allow for easy distancing of at least 6-feet between you and others.
• Practice physical distancing – place at least 6-feet between yourself and other people who are not part of your household.
• Practice routine hand hygiene – wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Clean frequently touched items regularly.

Safer Trick or Treating and “Trunk or Treating”
Although KDHE does not recommend trick or treating or “Trunk or Treat” events as ways to celebrate Halloween, there are some recommendations and guidance to consider if you make these choices for yourself or members of your household.

• Correctly wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home.
o Incorporate face coverings into costumes.
o Face coverings should not be worn by children younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, and anyone who is otherwise unable to remove their cloth face covering without assistance.
• Carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and use at regular intervals while outside your home.
• Consider carrying sanitizing wipes to disinfect candy or other items accepted from homes. Or, sanitize items individually when you get home before consumption. Remember to also examine treats for choking hazards or tampering before eating them.
• Accept only commercially packaged, non-perishable items.
• Practice physical distancing.
o Always leave at least 6-feet of space between yourself and people not in your household.
o Do not crowd sidewalks, driveways, or porches.
o Wait until a porch or doorway is empty before approaching a home.
o Move aside on sidewalks and driveways to allow space between yourself and other trick or treaters.
o Keep a safe distance from cars – do not walk in the street.

• For “Trunk or Treat” events, follow all guidelines above while also considering:
o Maintain at least 6-feet of distance between yourself and other attendees as you walk around.
o Wait for others to depart a car/trunk before approaching. Do not congregate at a car/trunk with other attendees unless they are members of your household.
Guidance for Homes Accepting Trick or Treaters
• When answering the door or coming into contact with trick or treaters, correctly wear a cloth face covering.

• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at regular intervals; hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be substituted if soap and water are not available.
• Regularly clean and sanitize frequently touched items such as door handles, door bells, and door knockers. Consider having sanitizing wipes by the door for quick access between trick or treaters.
• Distribute only commercially produced, non-perishable items to trick or treaters.
• Do not use “grab bowls”, where trick or treaters reach into a communal bowl to retrieve candy.
• Practice one-way trick or treating
o Consider spacing items 6-feet apart on your porch, in your yard or on a table in your driveway with a sign advising trick or treaters to “Take 1”. Watch from a safe distance and replenish items as needed.
o Alternatively, make individual goodie bags for trick or treaters to pick up as they walk by. If your home has a fence, consider hanging individual goodie bags on the fence for trick or treaters to take as they walk by.

• For “Trunk or Treat” events, also consider:
o Participating cars should be parked at least 6-feet apart.
o Make individual goodie bags and place them in your trunk so they are not touching. Maintain a distance of at least 6-feet from other attendees and replenish bags or items as needed.
o Carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and use at regular intervals.
o Sanitize high-touch areas at regular intervals. Consider having sanitizing wipes on hand.
Halloween Parties
Although KDHE does not recommend hosting or attending parties as a way to celebrate Halloween, there are some recommendations and guidance to consider if you make this choice for yourself or members of your household.
• Remind potential guests who are sick or waiting on results of a COVID-19 test to stay home.
• Host activities with only people from your local area as much as possible.
• Correctly wear a cloth face covering around others who are not part of your household.
• Practice routine hand hygiene – wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Consider only hosting or attending parties hosted in large, outdoor spaces that allow for physical distancing of at least 6-feet between attendees. If an event must be hosted indoors, make sure the space is well-ventilated (for example, open windows and doors).
• Maintain at least 6-feet between yourself and people who are not members of your household, especially when cloth face coverings are removed for eating and drinking.

• When setting up tables and chairs, create individual seating areas of various sizes spaced 6-feet apart to be utilized by individual family or household units. Encourage guests to sit only with those who are members of their household, especially for eating and drinking when cloth face coverings will be removed.
• Avoid activities that require guests to be in close contact or to share items, such as games or food.
• Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks.
• Limit people going in and out of areas where food is being prepared, such as kitchens or grills.
• Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.

General Halloween Health and Safety Tips

In addition to modifications to Halloween activities to reduce the spread of COVID-19, remember the following general Halloween health and safety tips to keep you and members of your household safe.
• Avoid trick or treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
• Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
• Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.
• Hold a flashlight while trick or treating to help you see and others see you.
• Walk, don’t run, from house to house.
• Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks whenever possible.
• Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible. Avoid walking in streets and roadways. If there is no sidewalk, walk along the far edge of the road facing traffic in order to stay safe.
• Wear well-fitting costumes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
• Eat only commercially produced, non-perishable treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
• Do not enter homes unless you are with a trusted adult.
• Only visit well-lit homes.
• Never accept rides from strangers.
• Never walk near candles or luminaries. Wear flame-resistant costumes.

References
1. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Guidance for Celebrating Halloween. Retrieved September 2020 from http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus/docs/community/GuidanceHalloween.pdf.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Halloween Health and Safety Tips. Retrieved September 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/index.htm.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Personal and Social Activities. Retrieved September 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/personal-social-activities.html#gatherings.

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Holiday Celebrations. Retrieved September 2020 from
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

Entries Needed For Veteran’s Celebration Parade

Seeking any and all entries!
Register for the parade today here online!
Or, click here for a printed registration form.
Motorcycles
Golf Carts
Bands
Cars/Trucks
Floats
Horses
Walking Units
All are welcome to enter!
Show your patriotism &
Honor our heroes!
______________________________________________________
Parade Chairs Diann Tucker (Stewart Realty) & Ann Stark (Atkins Insurance Agency)
are excited to announce
the parade Grand Marshal
will be Mr. Larry Lyons.
A note from the Parade Chairs:
We are looking for organizations, groups, or individuals, like yourself to be a part of this patriotic event to help honor our Veterans.
You don’t have to have a big fancy float to enter, you don’t even have to have a trailer – we want you to wear your RED, WHITE, & BLUE, walk, ride, bring a friend, just be a part of something special!
We would love to have as many veterans present as possible!!!
Save the date for Saturday, November 14th, 3pm!
Contact us with any questions:
Chamber 620.223.3566
Diann Tucker 620.224.7054
___________________________________
There will be Veteran’s Celebration activities planned from Tuesday, November 10th to Saturday, November 14th including:
Tuesday the 10th:
Veteran’s Welcome Reception
Boiler Room Brewhaus
Wednesday the 11th:
Veteran’s Day Program 11am
Followed by lunch @ the VFW
Thursday the 12th-14th:
Holiday Open House Shopping Event
Downtown & other locations
Friday the 13th:
Free Trolley Tours for Veterans
11am, 12pm, 1pm from the Chamber
Saturday the 14th:
Veteran’s Celebration Parade, 3pm
Make plans to visit & stay in Fort Scott
to enjoy the festivities!
FORT SCOTT AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
FORTSCOTT.COM | 620.223.3566

Kelly’s Remarks on Unified COVID-19 Testing Strategy

Governor Laura Kelly Unified Testing Strategy Remarks

TOPEKA –  The following are Governor Laura Kelly’s full remarks from her COVID-19 Press Briefing on October 28, 2020, detailing the framework for the Unified Testing Strategy. Graphics from today’s press conference can be found here.

Good afternoon.

As you know, yesterday I brought together a bipartisan group of legislators to ask whether they would support my efforts to call a special session for emergency legislation to implement a statewide mask requirement.

I convened the meeting because, as we have discussed previously, case rates and hospitalizations are spiking in counties that opted out of my July mask order, and today Kansas surpassed 1,000 total COVID-19 deaths.

To put this into context: the state did not reach five hundred COVID deaths until September, roughly six months after the pandemic began. It took a little over six weeks for another 500 Kansans to die.

Yesterday’s call was productive, and I believe both sides were acting in what they felt were the best interests of the State of Kansas.

I began the conversation by asking Legislative leadership to reconvene in a special session to pass bi-partisan legislation to restore my ability to require mask wearing across Kansas.

In response, Republican leaders asked if – before calling a special session – I would consider a strategy of reaching out to local leaders to implement their own mask requirements.

I agreed, with the stipulation that Legislative leaders, in conjunction with their caucuses, reach out with me to county and city leadership, as well as stakeholder groups, and that we move as quickly as possible.

We can’t afford to wait another moment to begin this process.

I have directed my staff to put all our energy into this strategy.

However, if we are unable to convince communities to voluntarily implement a mask mandate, I will move expeditiously to find another way to implement a statewide mask requirement.

Now on to the numbers update.

Since Monday, Kansas has reported 3,369 positive COVID-19 cases and 31 new deaths.

This brings us to a total of 82,045 cases, 3,752 hospitalizations, and it is with deep sadness that I say we have reached 1,007 deaths.

I offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of those who have succumbed to COVID-19.

In acknowledgement of their losses, today I ordered flags to be flown at half-staff statewide effective immediately until sundown, Friday, October 30, 2020.

Though case numbers I shared moments ago offer some insight into Kansas’ current pandemic response, they do not tell the full story of how the virus is moving through our state.

So, before I move into today’s announcement, I want to give a brief recap on what we have learned since my COVID update last Wednesday.

Last week, our state’s seven-day rolling average test positivity rate was 10.54% percent – which is just above the 10 percent threshold recommended to open schools and businesses.

On Monday, for the third week in a row, Kansas broke the record for the highest number of new cases of any reporting period at nearly 2,500 – which we broke again today at over 3,300.

Hospitals – particularly in our rural areas – continue to see increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, putting a strain on bed capacity and staff.

Though case numbers in Kansas may be increasing, as always, there is still time to turn our virus response around.

We are learning more every day about the effectiveness of COVID-19 mitigation strategies and public health guidelines – especially mask use.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas found that counties with mask mandates have effectively stopped virus transmission from increasing.

Counties with no mandate have seen infection rates climb.

A report from the institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington showed that strict adherence to mask orders could save 130,000 American lives by the end of February. If not, United States death toll could reach 500,000 in that time.

It’s clear that until a vaccine is available and widely deployed, mask usage is one our most important strategies for keeping Kansas schools and businesses open.

But masks are just one piece.

We must also increase testing capacity, isolate those who test positive, identify those who have been in close contact, and communicate the importance of quarantining to keep our communities safe.

This brings me to the framework for our new Unified Testing Strategy.

Over the last four weeks, a team at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment – under the direction of Special Advisor to the Governor Marci Nielsen, PhD – has been working diligently to develop this strategy in a way that fits Kansas.

Broadly speaking, the new strategy identifies where Kansas currently stands, and paints a picture of where we need to go – and how we can get there.

To give some background:

Since the pandemic began, local and state public health departments have largely focused their efforts on testing only those who have symptoms of COVID-19, or testing in areas where outbreaks are occurring.

We have made great strides in improving outbreak response over the past several months.

However, to effectively locate the virus in our communities, keep Kansans safe, keep kids in school, and keep our businesses open, we must do more.

We need to expand testing to include regular screening for the virus before it spreads.

That’s what the new Unified Testing Strategy will allow us to do.

It will coordinate both public and private COVID-19 testing efforts across Kansas to allow for broader routine screening in places like schools and nursing homes, to stop community spread before it starts.

With the investment of SPARK funding which was recently competitively bid and will soon be announced, we can nearly double the amount of testing we are doing in Kansas by years end.

That will move us from a total of 600,000 COVID-19 tests to date, to more than one million by the end of 2020. We will also expand beyond the types of testing we are conducting from just diagnostic to screening and surveillance.

KDHE will be working with our partners in the private sector to expand labs and supplies, enhance data and reporting, provide support for isolation and quarantine, and increase our public communications about controlling the virus’ spread.

This is especially important for populations at high risk, but also for businesses across the state worried about keeping their workforces safe and their doors open.

A unified testing strategy will be resource intensive, but will help us to save lives and rebuild our economy.

The graph behind me visually demonstrates how this will work.

For those populations at the highest risk, located in the green section, state and local public health officials will continue to investigate outbreaks, but also regularly screen for the virus and isolate those who test positive.

For populations at medium risk, in the blue band, health officials will once again continue to investigate outbreaks but also use surveillance testing – which uses methods like testing wastewater for signs of COVID-19.

Through the new strategy we have also cast a wider net when it comes to accessing information and resources for our COVID-19 response.

If you recall, I recently announced that Kansas had joined the Rockefeller Foundation COVID-19 Testing Solutions Group.

Today I am pleased to report that Kansas is now part of collaborative effort funded by the National Institutes of Health to improve COVID-19 testing for underserved and vulnerable populations.

The University of Kansas Medical Center is one of 32 institutions across the United States that will focus on increased testing in populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Referred to as the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, 10 counties will be working with a KUMC research team to build a learning collaborative that will help support our most vulnerable populations and help inform the work of Kansas’ unified testing strategy.

I know that oftentimes when we think of testing, we may not consider the whole picture. We only think about the test itself and receiving the results on our phones afterward.

But there is so much more for our public health officials to consider.

We need comprehensive, accurate data that health officials can analyze to determine our most vulnerable populations or locations so that the state can respond accordingly.

We need access to labs that have sufficient testing capacity.

We need reliable transportation to move samples from health facilities to labs, where they can be tested for COVID-19.

The Unified Testing Strategy has all of that in mind, and more.

Through this approach we can work together with local health departments to analyze what we have, what we need, and how we can get it.

Last week I visited Salon Chemistry in Wichita to learn more about the owners’ COVID-19 mitigation strategies and commend them for their diligent efforts to keep Kansans safe.

While I was there, we talked about how hard it was for them when virus spread required my administration to close certain businesses last Spring.

At that time, our state did not have access to sufficient testing supplies or PPE to ensure customers and employees could stay safe.

We had little understanding of how the virus spreads, or how it manifested.

We have learned a lot over the past several months.

With that evolving knowledge and understanding, with a unified testing strategy, we can provide businesses like Salon Chemistry with absolute certainty that they will be able to continue operation this winter and beyond.

Adding the Unified Testing Strategy to our tool box, along with universal mask usage, social distancing, and avoidance of mass gatherings, we can contain this virus and give our scientists time to develop a vaccine that will allow us to resume our normal activities.

With that, I will take questions.

Winter Hours of Operation for Fort Scott National Historic Site 

Fort Scott, Kan. – The leaves are changing for fall and winter, so are the hours of operation at Fort Scott National Historic Site. Beginning Sunday, November 1, the park historic structures will be open daily from 8:30 am–4:30 pm through March 31, 2021. The buildings are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The park grounds, walkways, and parking lot continue to be open from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset daily.

 

Fort Scott National Historic Site is a fee-free park that offers a glimpse into the growth of our nation through a short film, interactive audio-visual programs, displays, the museum, and historic objects. A walk through the fort reveals the significant role it played in the opening of the West, as well as, the Civil War and the strife in the State of Kansas that preceded it.

 

Park Rangers are on hand and happy to help you learn more about the area and plan your visit. For more information about Fort Scott National Historic Site programs or other activities, please call the park at 620-223-0310, or visit our website at www.nps.gov/fosc.

 

 

www.nps.gov

 

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 421 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.