Category Archives: COVID-19

Kansas COVID 19 Booster Not Approved Yet

Reminder: COVID-19 Booster Doses Not Yet Approved
~~Official approval happens AFTER CDC adopts recommendations from FDA and ACIP~~

“The following are the COVID-19 vaccines our health departments are able to administer at this time: Moderna for individuals 18 years and older. Now carrying Pfizer, which is FDA approved for individuals 12 years and older,” Rebecca Johnson, Southeast Kansas Multi Health Department said.  “We are also are able to give an additional dose of Moderna or Pfizer to those individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. We have a limited supply of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for those individuals 18 years and older.

“We also have flu shots available at this time for the public. Mondays are walk-in days. Call for an appointment otherwise. Allen County: (620)365-2191; Anderson County: (785)448-6559; Bourbon County: (620)223-4464; Woodson County: (620)625-2484.”

 

TOPEKA – On Friday, Sept. 17, the first step was completed in COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. However, there are three steps that still need to happen before certain Kansans can receive a booster shot.

What has been approved:

  • Friday, Sept. 17 – The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 18-0 in favor of a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose for adults aged 65 and over and individuals aged 16 and over at high risk for COVID-19.
    • They did not recommend boosters for all individuals aged 16 and over. The committee had concerns about the lack of robust data, especially safety data in younger populations. They felt that a booster dose would not significantly impact or mitigate the state of the pandemic.

What still needs to happen:

  • FDA authorization of booster dose.
    • The FDA is expected to authorize a booster vaccine for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine early this week.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommendation
    • The ACIP is scheduled to meet on 22 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. to consider the authorization from the FDA regarding booster doses.
    • The ACIP recommendation will likely provide more specifics as it relates to the length of time after initial series completion, eligible age groups and identified high-risk groups.
  • CDC Director Approval
    • Following the ACIP meeting, the CDC Director will make a final decision to approve, amend or reject the ACIP recommendations. Only this final decision by the CDC Director will allow for providers to begin administering booster doses.

In August 2021, an additional dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was approved for individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. These additional doses are not considered booster doses and remain available.

###

Emergency Funding For Current COVID19 Surge

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Funding for Frontline Nurses and Care Workers

~$50 Million in Funding Going to Nurse & Care Workers as Strain on Hospitals Continues to Increase~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced $50 million available for hospitals to either provide premium pay or improve retention of nursing resources and support personnel, approved by the SPARK Executive Committee. This emergency funding will provide immediate support for Kansas hospitals to manage the current COVID-19 surge and address critical shortages in nurse staffing across the state.

Qualified facilities may use the funding for either premium pay as defined in ARPA or for funding a program designed by the facility to improve the retention of nursing resources and support personnel. Premium pay may be distributed by the hospitals to frontline employees in the manner that they believe is most appropriate to ensure retention of critical resources and maintenance of staffed hospital beds.

“Many of our nurses are risking their lives every day to save Kansans from COVID-19 – and the immense strain on our hospitals is causing them to be exhausted and disheartened,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “They’re taking on extra shifts and caring for more patients than they can handle – and it’s our responsibility to give them the support they need.

“Frontline nurses need this funding to continue battling the COVID-19 surge here at home. I sincerely thank all Kansas frontline nurses and health care workers for all they do to protect our communities from the threat of COVID-19. I encourage all Kansans to do their part and get vaccinated immediately – for our health care workers, for our businesses, and for our families.”

The funding can provide frontline nurses and care workers with premium pay by increasing their hourly wages up to $13 per hour. Hospitals can apply for these State Fiscal Recovery Funds and receive funding based on their number of nursing resources, and will have discretion over how to distribute premium pay.

Additionally, hospitals will be allowed to use the funding for alternative purposes to retain staff if it meets compliance with ARPA guidance. Funding in retention programs must be spent on pay and associated benefits of qualified employees.

By October 31, 2021 and for each month thereafter, all Qualified Facilities receiving funding shall report the following to the Office of Recovery and the SPARK Committee:

  1. The number of nurses on a full-time equivalence basis staffing ICU beds and non-ICU beds as of the most recent pay period ending prior to September 15, 2021, broken out by contract nurses and employees.
  2. The number of nurses on a full-time equivalence basis staffing ICU beds and non-ICU beds as of the most recent pay period ending prior to or on October 31, 2021, broken out by contract nurses and employees.
  3. How much of the money received by the Qualified Facility has been earned under the program to date.
  4. The number of weeks the Qualified Facility has had the program in place.
  5. The number of frontline clinical employees and nurses who left the employment of the Qualified Facility during the period from June 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021.
  6. The number of frontline clinical employees and nurses who left the employment of the Qualified Facility during each month from September 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022.
  7. For any terminations of clinical frontline workers and nurses from September 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022, the number of such terminations and the reason given for all voluntary and involuntary terminations.
  8. All current Covid-related policies, such as testing policies, quarantine policies, and vaccine policies, and any changes thereto with the date such changes were announced and implemented.

Julie Glass, a nurse at Newman Regional Hospital in Emporia, posted to the hospital’s Facebook page last month: “It’s come to a point where you not only pray for your family member to not get COVID, but you pray that they don’t have any other illness or medical emergency either because there’s not enough space or staff for them to receive adequate medical care.”

Governor Kelly believes it is imperative to act now and protect the health and safety of our frontline nurses. This funding will ensure that Kansas hospitals are adequately equipped with experienced staff, rural hospitals can keep their doors open, and nurses can appropriately be compensated for their tireless and courageous work throughout this pandemic.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Kansas with a daily average of 1,331 new cases from August 30 to September 7 – levels not seen since January 2021. On September 10, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported 4,302 new COVID-19 cases since the last update two days prior. Hospitalizations continue to rise, with 612 hospitalized COVID patients as of September 10. This poses a challenge for hospitals to be able to provide surge support staffing and incentivize nurses to stay at their current pay rates.

More information will be provided to eligible Kansas hospitals in the coming days about how to access and properly allocate this funding to their nurses and frontline care workers.

KDHE Amends Travel & Exposure Related Quarantine List

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has amended its travel quarantine list to remove the countries Martinique and Georgia. An unvaccinated individual should quarantine if they meet the following criteria:

  • Traveled on or after Aug. 27 to French Polynesia or Guadeloupe
  • Traveled between July 29 and Sept. 9 to Martinique.
  • Traveled between Aug. 27 and Sept. 9 to Georgia.
  • Attendance at any out-of-state or in-state mass gatherings of 500 or more where individuals do not socially distance (6 feet) and wear a mask.
  • Been on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15, 2020.

The travel and mass gathering quarantine period is seven days with a negative test result or 10 days without testing, with release from quarantine on Day 8 and Day 11, respectively. Further information on quarantine periods can be found on KDHE’s website.

For those traveling internationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring testing within three days of flights into the U.S. For further information on this and other requirements, visit their website.

For those who are fully vaccinated (meaning it has been greater than two weeks since they completed their vaccinations) they are not required to quarantine regarding travel or mass gatherings if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2- dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine).
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the travel.

Persons who do not meet the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance for travel or mass gatherings.

Additionally, people with previous COVID-19 disease are not required to quarantine following travel if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have evidence of a previous infection supported by a positive PCR or antigen test
  • Are within 6 months following infection. If an investigation was done documenting the date that symptoms resolved, or the date isolation measures were discontinued for asymptomatic patients, then the 6-month period can start from that end date. If those dates are not available, then the period will start from the date of the positive laboratory test. A serology or antibody test may not be substituted for a laboratory report of a viral diagnostic test.
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the travel

Persons who do not meet all three of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance for travel.

The travel quarantine list is determined using a formula to evaluate new cases over a two-week period, then adjusted for population size to provide a case rate per 100,000 population. This provides a number that can then be compared to the rate in Kansas. Locations with significantly higher rates — approximately 3x higher — are added to the list.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the KDHE website at www.kdhe.ks.gov/coronavirus.

Kansas Driver’s License Visits Continue on an Appointment-First Basis

Kansas Department of Revenue Reminds Customers of Online Services Available

 

TOPEKA – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the state, the Kansas Department of Revenue reminds its customers that many of the services provided in its offices can also be completed online. This includes, for many Kansans, renewing driver’s licenses and making tax payments, whether current or delinquent.

“Reminding our customers that these options are available merely reiterates our continued mission to provide services and assistance safely and efficiently, even during a pandemic,” said Secretary of Revenue Mark Burghart.

A complete list of online services is available at ksrevenue.org/onlineservices.

If an office visit is necessary for driver’s license services, KDOR heavily encourages making an appointment. Customers with an appointment receive priority. Information about making an appointment can be found at ksrevenue.org/DOVAppointmentInfo.

Office visits to KDOR Taxpayer Assistance Centers require an appointment. Those appointments can be made by going to kdor.ks.gov/apps/appointmentscheduler.

Kansas DCF Extends Deadline for Pandemic Relief Program

Program provides funds to help eligible young adults in need

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department for Children and Families has extended the deadline to Sept. 10, 2021, for its independent living pandemic relief program, which provides a one-time benefit to help Kansas young adults ages 18 to 26 who experienced foster care, juvenile justice or tribal authority out of home placement at or after the age of 14.

“The pandemic has been difficult for all Kansans,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said, “and this program provides eligible young adults in need the chance to apply for this benefit and get financial assistance to help them in their daily lives.”

The program was developed after the Consolidated Appropriations Act (PL 116-260) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. The Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act (H.R. 7947) was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act and provides funding to every state to support youth and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Independent living pandemic relief program recipients must meet the following requirements:

  • Currently between the ages 18 and 26
  • Currently residing in Kansas
  • Experienced out of home placement in the custody of one of the following agencies at age 14 or older:
  • Kansas Department for Children and Families (formerly known as Social and Rehabilitation Services)
  • Tribal authority
  • Kansas Department of Corrections- juvenile services (formerly known as juvenile justice authority)
  • Other state child welfare system (verification of custody will be required for young adults who experienced custody in another state.)
  • Not currently participating in the DCF independent living program

Payments for this program will be issued starting in late September.

To complete the program application online, visit http://www.dcf.ks.gov/CAASP/Pages/ILPandemicRelief.aspx. Applicants will be asked to upload a copy or photo of their identifying documentation: State photo ID, social security card, or certified birth certificate. Applicants will need to have these documents accessible while completing the application.

Interested individuals may also print an application form and send the completed form to DCF youth programs via email, mail, fax (785-296-4685), or in-person delivery.

For mailing or in-person, the address is:

DCF Youth Programs Kansas Department for Children and Families Prevention and Protection Services 555 S. Kansas Avenue, 4th Floor​​ Topeka, KS 66603

If applicants do not have access to a printer, please email DCF.AdminIL@ks.gov and a copy will be mailed with an envelope for return.

KDHE Urges Kansans Not to Take Ivermectin for COVID-19

 

TOPEKA – With a rise in calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is urging Kansans not to take the drug ivermectin unless prescribed by a physician then take it exactly as prescribed. This drug is not approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat or prevent COVID-19. Ivermectin has been approved in humans to treat specific skin conditions like rosacea, head lice or some parasitic worms. Ivermectin is used in livestock as an anti-parasite medicine and can be found in livestock supply centers. Livestock drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans.

“Kansans should avoid taking medications that are intended for animals and should only take ivermectin as prescribed by their physician,” said Lee Norman, M.D., Secretary of KDHE. “These highly concentrated doses can cause severe illness and even death in humans. The COVID-19 vaccine remains the most effective way to prevent COVID-19.”

An ivermectin overdose includes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Overdoses are associated with hypotension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma, and death. Ivermectin may intensify the effects of other drugs that cause central nervous system depression, such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

The COVID-19 vaccine is the safest and most effective way to prevent getting sick and protect against severe disease and death from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, including the Delta variant. In addition to the vaccine, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing will help stop the spread of the virus. Find a COVID-19 vaccine near you by visiting https://www.vaccines.gov/.

KDHE Announces Release of Kansas COVID County Rankings Report

Editors note: SEK Multi County Health Department Administrator Becky Johnson provided the following helpful links: https://www.kansasvaccine.gov/158/Data (this has numbers of persons vaccinated)
This is the link for number of cases in Kansas by county: https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/160/COVID-19-in-Kansas

 

TOPEKA – Today, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced the release of the Kansas COVID County Ranking report. This report is designed to help county commissioners and local leaders stop the spread of COVID-19 in their communities by tracking critical COVID-19 metrics including testing, case and vaccination rates.

“I believe that data is a powerful tool we can use to guide our response to COVID-19,” Dr. Lee Norman said. “I am hopeful this report empowers action in communities and encourages sharing and implementation of best practices across Local Health Departments. Local leaders and communities are working tirelessly to keep us safe; to help them, helps all of us.”

This report is not a report-card, as multiple factors impact COVID-19 testing, case and vaccination rates in our communities. It brings together the most critical COVID-19 metrics at a local level to help state, county, and local leaders work together to stop the spread of the dangerous COVID-19 delta variant and keep Kansans safe and keep the economy open.

“Over the past 18 months, Kansas Counties have worked tirelessly to provide ongoing response and vital resources for county residents to keep them safe and informed on the evolving COVID-19 virus,” shared Bruce Chladny, Executive Director, Kansas Association of Counties, “And, the county response efforts, including vaccinations and essential messaging, continue as Kansas now experiences yet another surge from the deadly virus.”

Three metrics are reported and ranked across each county:

  • Full series vaccination rate of eligible population (12+ year olds)
  • 7- day daily average number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people
  • 7- day daily average number of COVID-19 tests administered per 100,000 people

Each county’s rankings are added together to generate a total score for the county. The total scores for counties are then ranked from 1-105.

The report will be refreshed three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It can be found on KDHE’s website at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/160/COVID-19-in-Kansas. Data for the report is provided by the CDC and KDHE.

Governor Directs State Agencies to Return to Remote Work

TOPEKA – In response to the continued spread of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, Governor Laura Kelly today released new guidance directing state agencies under the jurisdiction of the Executive Branch to resume remote work operations where possible.

“Since the start of the pandemic, my administration has followed the best public health guidance to keep our communities safe, mitigate the spread of the virus, and reduce strain on hospitals,” Governor Kelly said. “The decision to return to remote work was not made lightly – but we know that this is a necessary step to prevent COVID-19 infections. I am confident that our state employees will continue to provide quality services to all Kansans who need them.”

The remote work model will remain in place through October 4th. At that time, a re-assessment of current COVID-19 infection rates will determine when state employees can return to fully on-site work.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state agency operations shifted to remote work for employees whose job functions could be performed remotely. In June, after a significant reduction in daily COVID-19 infections, state employees began returning to state office buildings.

As infection numbers began to rise again throughout the summer, a transition to remote work will help control the spread of the virus among state employees. Onsite staffing will be limited to only those necessary to safely conduct agency operations.

Mask requirements, social distancing and other mitigation measures will remain in place for employees whose jobs must be performed on-site. Public offices serving customers will be encouraged to re-institute mitigation measures that were previously utilized during the pandemic, such as scheduling “by appointment only” or making allowances for virtual as opposed to in-person interactions. All such measures will be carried out in a way as to have as minimal an impact or inconvenience on customers.

View the new guidance here. 

COVID Vaccine Offered by Health Department

The Southeast Kansas Multi County Health Department offices are now offering an additional dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for those moderately to severely immunocompromised.

Mondays are walk-in days, but otherwise someone wanting vaccinated would need to call for an appointment.

Please bring ID and your COVID-19 vaccine card to the appointment.

Office numbers are as follows:

Allen County: (620)365-2191;

Anderson County: (785)448-6559,

Bourbon County: (620)223-4464;

Woodson County: (620)625-2484

Submitted by


Rebecca Johnson BSN, RN

SEK Multi-County Health Department

Administrator

USD235 Starts School: Masks Recommended, New Teachers, New Consession Area

Bret Howard, Superintendent of USD 235. Submitted. photo.

Uniontown USD 235 has teacher in-service  Aug. 23-25 with an open house from 4-6 p.m. on Aug. 25

The first day of school is Thursday, August 26.

New teachers this year are Linda Rogers who will be teaching first/second grade, April Stock who will teach fifth grade and Stephanie Defebaugh who will teach pre-kindergarten.

The USD 235 Board of Education passed in a 6 to 1 vote,  its 2021-22 Operational Guidelines on Monday, August 9.  The approved guidelines may be accessed on the link https://5il.co/wxj7

“Masks will be highly recommended but not required inside all USD 235 buildings,” Superintendent Bret Howard said.  “Masks will be required on all school-provided transportation.  A federal mandate on all public transportation was enacted over the summer that includes school busses and school vehicles.”

New this year is a restroom and concession area.

The former restroom and concession area, in the old superintendent’s office south of the football field, now houses the Girard Medical Center Clinic in Uniontown.

The district is working on replacing the restrooms/concession facility.

“There will be a concession stand and bathroom built on the northwest side of the home football bleachers,” Howard said.  “We have taken the fence down and will be starting construction soon.”

 

 

 

Keep Kids Safe In School

Header


For Immediate Release:    
August 24, 2021

Contact:    
Reeves Oyster, Press Secretary
Reeves.Oyster@ks.gov

Governor Laura Kelly Launches New Ad Campaign on How to Keep Kids Safe from COVID-19 at School

~As kids head back to school and the Delta variant spreads, Kelly asks Kansans to get vaccinated, wear masks, and get tested ~

TOPEKA – As the Delta variant continues to rapidly spread and recent federal data shows a record-high number of children are hospitalized because of COVID-19, Governor Laura Kelly this week released two new ads encouraging students and their families to use public health practices as they head back to school this fall.

“Record numbers of children are catching the virus and being hospitalized from COVID-19,” Governor Kelly said. “As we head back to school, it’s critical that all Kansas students, teachers, and staff wear masks, get tested regularly and, if you’re 12 or older, get vaccinated. That’s how we keep our kids safe and in the classroom.”

The first ad, “Kids Spread Germs,” talks about just how contagious and serious the Delta variant is and urges parents to follow the three core steps to keep kids safe: getting a free and safe vaccine if you’re 12 and older, wearing masks in public (including in school), and getting tested regularly for the virus.

The second ad, “Your Decision,” urges college students who are over the age of 18 to get the information they need and make the decision to get a free and safe vaccine. View the ad here.

Both ads come as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for people 16 years of age and older. The vaccine continues to be available for people 12-15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in moderately or severely immunocompromised people through emergency use authorization.

Current data make clear that those who are not vaccinated are at the greatest risk right now. 99% of COVID deaths and over 97% of COVID hospitalizations nationally have been among people who were not vaccinated. The vaccine is safe, free, and can help save lives.

Governor Kelly encourages anyone who has questions about the vaccine to visit GetVaccineAnswers.org.

Testing, like the vaccine, is free, even if you have been tested before. For more information on where you can be tested for COVID-19, visit: KnowBeforeYouGoKS.com.

Vaccine Fully Aprroved

FDA Gives Full Approval to Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

Governor Kelly Encourages All Kansans to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine

TOPEKA – Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for people 16 years of age and older. The vaccine continues to be available for people 12-15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in moderately or severely immunocompromised people through emergency use authorization.

“The vaccine is safe, effective against severe illness and death, and our best tool to beat this virus,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “Today’s announcement from the FDA is good news. I urge all Kansans to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their neighbors, our frontline workers, and our economy.”

Moderna began the application for full FDA approval in June, nearly a month after Pfizer/BioNTech. Full approval is anticipated in several weeks. Johnson & Johnson has stated they will begin the approval process later this year.

As of August 23, 2021, 51.4% of Kansans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Millions of people have already received the COVID-19 vaccine and this approval should instill a high-level of confidence in all Kansans that the vaccine has met the high standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing set by the FDA,” said Lee Norman, M.D., Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “Our state is seeing high numbers of people diagnosed with the Delta variant. The best way to fight this disease, especially the variant, is to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For those that were waiting on full approval and more data, it’s happened today. Everyone who is eligible should schedule their appointment today to get the vaccine.”

The vast majority of new COVID-19 cases in the State of Kansas are the Delta variant. This variant continues to cause the number of cases to rise at the level that was seen in November 2020.

The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than twice as contagious as previous variants. The greatest concern is for those who are unvaccinated. Data shows that this variant causes more severe illness in people who are unvaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines reduce a person’s risk of contracting the virus, including this variant. Additionally, it has been shown to prevent severe disease and death.

KDHE urges all eligible Kansans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Find a free COVID-19 vaccine near you at: Vaccines.gov.