Category Archives: Kansas

KDHE Announces Changes to COVID-19 Contact Tracing

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today announces that as of Feb. 1, 2022, COVID-19 contact outreach and monitoring, otherwise known as contact tracing, operations will be discontinued at KDHE. KDHE contact tracing staff will be reassigned to contact investigations. County Local Health Departments have already begun to wind down contact tracing and K-12 schools who were participating in contact tracing as part of the Test to Stay program may temporarily suspend contact tracing as well. Contact tracing is when Public Health notifies close contacts to let them know that they were exposed to an infectious disease and tells them about the signs and symptoms to watch out for. Participation with contact tracing has always been voluntary. The decision to end contact outreach and monitoring was made due to the surge in amount of positive COVID-19 cases and the public’s willingness to participate has diminished since the beginning of the pandemic.

“As we enter the third year of this pandemic, public health has to begin to adjust the level of response to help alleviate the strain on the Public Health system,” Janet Stanek, Acting Secretary, said. “The pandemic is far from over, but this step is a move toward managing COVID-19 as an endemic disease. The responsibility of protecting yourself and others belongs to all of us.”

Individuals who are positive for COVID-19 will now be responsible for letting their close contacts know about their potential exposure. Additionally, if the individual with COVID-19 exposed others at high-risk settings such as schools, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, daycares and churches, KDHE or the local health department will notify the setting. The setting will be responsible for identifying close contacts and notifying them about the potential exposure.

Individuals who are positive for COVID-19 or a close contact of someone with COVID-19 can find information on what to do here.

KDHE urges Kansans to use the following tools to protect against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

  • Get vaccinated and boosted. Vaccines remain the best tool to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. The authorized COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and death. The COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States are expected to protect against serious illness, hospitalizations, and death in people infected with the Omicron variant, especially those who have received a booster. COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized for people ages 5 and over. Moderately or severely immunocompromised people ages 5 and over should receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot. The COVID-19 booster shots are authorized for all people ages 12 and over. To find a vaccine near you, visit Vaccines.gov.
  • Wear a mask. Masks offer protection against all variants. It is recommended that people in Kansas wear the most protective mask that fits well and can be worn consistently  in public indoor settings, where COVID-19 transmission remains high, regardless of vaccination status. For more information, visit the CDC website, Types of Masks and Respirators.
  • Get tested. If you are sick or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, it is recommended that you get tested for COVID-19. Go to KnowBeforeYouGoKS.com to find a free testing location near you. If a positive result is received through an at-home test, isolate at home for at least 5 full days. If you took an at-home test and need Public Health to issue a letter stating that you are positive, you will need to follow up with a health care provider for a confirmation test.
  • Stay home if exposed. If you are exposed to COVID-19 and you are not up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, you should stay home and away from other people for 5 full days after your last contact with the person who has COVID-19. Anyone who is exposed, including those who are up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters and those who had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, should wear a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others inside your home or in public and watch for symptoms for 10 full days. Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask, avoid travel, and avoid people at high risk for developing severe disease. Get tested for COVID-19 at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19, or get tested immediately if you develop symptoms.
  • Stay home if sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, you should stay home and isolate away from other people for at least 5 full days. You can end home isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your symptoms are improving. If you did not have symptoms, end home isolation 5 days after your positive test. Severely ill people should isolate for at least 10 days. Take precautions for 10 days including wearing a well-fitted mask for 10 full days any time you are around others. Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask, avoid travel, and avoid people at high risk for developing severe disease.
  • Social distance and practice good hand hygiene. People should avoid large gatherings and stay at least 6 feet from others in public settings, especially if they are at higher risk of getting sick.  Wash your hands often with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

KS 2023 Budget Announced

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Fiscal Year 2023 Budget

~ Governor Kelly keeps her promise to bring fiscal responsibility back to state government ~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced her fourth budget recommendation. This budget builds on years of work by the Kelly Administration to restore the state’s fiscal prosperity, grow the state’s economy, expand the state’s workforce, and invest in the health and safety of the people of the state of Kansas.

“Fully funding K-12. Closing the Bank of KDOT. Balancing our budget. This is what the people of Kansas elected me to do,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This budget not only restores state funding for critical services, it cuts the state sales tax on food. I encourage the Legislature to waste no time and send me a clean bill to Axe the Food Tax.”

The Governor’s budget fully funds K-12 for a fifth straight year and makes historic investments in workforce training and higher education to ensure that Kansans are ready to enter the workforce. By expanding Medicaid, the state of Kansas not only nets millions of dollars of enhanced federal matching funds, it allows more people to remain in the workforce and boosts local economies.

Recognizing that some revenues may be one-time only, the budget makes several one-time investments to reduce debt and increase structural balance, including paying off KPERS and other debts accrued under previous administrations, providing Kansas taxpayers with a $250 rebate, and making one-time investments and capital improvements in the state’s public safety, corrections, and juvenile justice systems.

Other highlights of this budget include:

  • Responsibly cutting taxes for every Kansan: Unlike proposals that have focused the greatest benefit of tax reform on a small number of Kansans, cutting the state sales tax on food and providing a rebate for every Kansas taxpayer will ensure tax relief goes to the hardworking Kansans that power our state’s economy.
  • Recognizing the service of law enforcement and other state employees: This budget calls for a minimum 5% pay increase for all state employees and includes funding to help recruit and retain State Highway Patrol officers, nurses, corrections officers, public defenders, Community Corrections, home and community-based service providers, child protection specialists, and others. It also includes funding to enhance pensions and new protective equipment and facility improvements for those working in secure facilities.
  • Sustaining the state’s record-breaking economic growth: Kansas has continued record-breaking economic growth for a second straight year—bringing the two-year total of economic investment to over $7.6 billion. This budget builds on the Governor’s previous efforts to restore the Department of Commerce by fully returning the Economic Development Initiatives Fund to its intended purpose—economic development. In addition to efforts to enhance the state’s workforce through training and apprenticeships, the budget intends to capitalize on broadband development, encourage small business innovation, and develop and renovate new moderate-income housing.
  • Achieving and maintaining school funding: This budget includes adequate school funding to meet the requirements of the Gannon settlement for a fifth straight year, ensuring that as students, parents, and teachers continue to learn and overcome the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, schools have resources to help keep our kids on track to graduate, earn postsecondary degrees and certificates, and ultimately join the workforce.
  • Fully closing the Bank of KDOT: This budget not only fulfills the Governor’s promise to close the Bank of KDOT, it ends other extraordinary transfers out of the State Highway Fund. These transfers for non-infrastructure programs such as Mental Health Grants and debt service on bonds will now be funded out of SGF, returning needed infrastructure dollars to their original purpose.
  • Promoting workforce readiness and competitiveness: funding for postsecondary education has not recovered to pre-Great Recession levels in over a decade. This budget not only restores higher education funding and freezes tuition at four-year institutions, it includes additional funding for need-based aid, Excel in CTE, and National Guard scholarships so that more Kansans can seek the education and training they need to qualify for in-demand jobs. It also provides capital investment funding to ensure that all institutions remain engines of economic growth with new facilities and technology to increase the state’s competitiveness.
  • Reducing fees and making payments on-time: Under previous administrations, “one-time” and “temporary” measures were put in place that added to KPERS debt, increased fees for vehicle registration, and delayed the final school payment into the next fiscal year. Coming off the recent repayment of the PMIB loan, this budget ends the DMV surcharge, pays off KPERS debt early, and returns the 12th school payment to the current year. It also pays bonds early, improving the state’s structural balance and securing Kansas’ finances in the event of future national or international economic challenges.
  • Strengthening Access to Mental Healthcare: With the lifting of the moratorium at Osawatomie State Hospital, this budget continues the work of ensuring mental health access closer to home by providing funding for regional crisis services and hospital beds, suicide prevention grants for local agencies, and expanding access to mental health teams in the state’s schools. It also provides new substance use treatment options for those in state hospitals and corrections facilities.
  • Promoting healthcare affordability: expanding Medicaid is not only a good deal for the state of Kansas, it helps Kansans remain in the workforce and keeps local health providers in business. Our healthcare providers are essential to keeping local economies strong. This budget also funds enhanced post-partum Medicaid coverage for up to 12 months, improving mental and physical health for mothers and young families.
  • Protecting the state and safeguarding our future: After the state experienced significant natural disasters in recent years, this budget provides funding for staff and one-time funding for upgrades of facilities and equipment for our National Guard and state health and environment lab.
  • Fully funding the state water plan: for too many years, the state’s radical tax policies led the state to defund efforts to protect one of our most valuable resources: water. This budget fully funds the State Water Plan Fund for the first time since FY 2008—providing irrigation technology and other water-saving resources that will promote the resilience and abundance of our rural communities and ag industry for generations to come.
  • Saving for tomorrow: Until this budget, Kansas has been unique among states to have either a small or non-existent budget stabilization fund. This budget ensures that Kansas has a real “Rainy Day Fund” in case national and international events threaten to harm our sustained economic growth.

    View the Governor’s full budget recommendation here. 

Kansas Governor: State of the State

Governor Laura Kelly Delivers the 2022 State of the State Address

TOPEKA – The following is the transcript of Governor Laura Kelly’s 2022 State of the State Address.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Madam Chief Justice, Lt. Governor Toland, statewide elected officials, members of the Legislature, Cabinet officers, leaders of the Kansas tribes, honored guests, and fellow Kansans.

After two years of challenges, of limited gatherings, it is my high honor to stand before you once again this evening to deliver my fourth State of the State Address.

To report on our shared successes.

And to present a blueprint for the final year of my first term.

To read the complete speech, please go here.

Quarantine Checklist For Travel

KDHE Amends Travel Related Quarantine List

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has amended its travel quarantine list to add the states of New York and Washington D.C. and add the countries of Isle of Man and San Marino. An unvaccinated individual or those that have not received all the recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots, should quarantine if they meet the following criteria:

  • Traveled on or after Dec. 16 to Andorra.
  • Traveled on or after Jan. 10 to New York and Washington D.C.
  • Traveled on or after Jan. 10 to Isle of Man and San Marino.
  • 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 length of a travel-related at home quarantine is 5 days after your last exposure with an additional requirement to wear a well-fitting mask indoors and outdoors when around others for an additional 5 days. If you cannot mask, at-home quarantine is recommended for 10 days. Quarantine would start the day after you return to Kansas or from the mass gathering. If you do not develop symptoms of COVID-19 during your quarantine period, then you are released from quarantine. Regularly check this list to stay up to date on travel-related guidance. Please refer to the KDHE Isolation and Quarantine FAQ for additional information.

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 meet the following criteria do not need to quarantine:

  • You are ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.
  • You are ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test).

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

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.

First Kansas Soybean Shipment to China

Inaugural Kansas soybean shipment delivered to China

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland today congratulated Kansas grain wholesaler The DeLong Co. on its recent shipment of 500 metric tons of soybeans to Henan Shennong Extruded Feed Technology Co. in Henan, China – the first such direct containerized grain shipment to China ever from the state of Kansas.

The soybean shipment resulted from the 40-year Sister-State relationship between the State of Kansas and the Chinese province of Henan. In May of 1989, Kansas Governor John Carlin and Henan Governor Liu Jie signed an agreement establishing friendly Sister-State relations to develop cooperation, facilitate diplomacy and foster a strong business connection. In September of 2021, Kansas and Henan celebrated the 40th anniversary of this long-standing relationship with a virtual event that included top political, economic, agricultural and educational leaders from Kansas and Henan.

“Kansas is a worldwide powerhouse of agriculture production,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Our farmers and ranchers take their job of feeding the world very seriously, and we’re pleased that existing trade partnerships have led to the establishment of new customer relationships and markets abroad. Through our International Division at the Department of Commerce, we will continue to engage and facilitate new exchanges with our Sister-State and consumers worldwide.”

“Through exports, Kansas producers help feed the world,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam said. “This monumental development of sending soybeans to Henan, China by way of a shipping container enhances the relationship with our Sister-State and her consumers.”

This soybean shipment marks the beginning of what the state hopes will be a continued dialogue leading to more such deals. To celebrate this inaugural Kansas-based shipment, leadership from both Kansas and Henan recently met virtually and agreed that discussions about future sales would continue.

“We are pleased to see the ongoing market development work of the Kansas Soybean Commission play a small role in the direct purchase of soybeans from a key state partner in the DeLong Company,” Kaleb Little, Kansas Soybean Commission Administrator, said. “The long-standing Kansas-Henan sister-state relationship continues to be mutually beneficial, adding value for the soybean producers of our state. This serves as a very tangible example of the return on investment of the soybean checkoff.”

Henan was originally chosen as a Sister-State for Kansas due to their agricultural role in China and their geographic location in the middle of the country. This year, both sides began negotiations for the export of Kansas products to Henan. As a result, The Delong Co., based in Edgerton, and Henan’s Shennong Extruded Feed Technology Co. made the agreement to export 500 metric tons of containerized soybeans from Kansas to Henan.

“We are thrilled about this first order placed by Henan Shennong,” Brandon Bickham, Delong’s Senior Exporter Director, said. “A direct contract like this helps us better understand our customer’s specific needs. We are confident that it also bodes well for our new business relationship with Shennong.”

About The DeLong Co., Inc.

The DeLong Co., Inc. is a sixth-generation, family-owned company, committed to cultivating prosperity – for their customers, employees and community. Headquartered in Clinton, Wisconsin, the company operates 38 locations around the U.S. and comprises six divisions of agricultural and logistical sales and services: grain, exports, agronomy, seed, transportation and wholesale feed. The DeLong Co., Inc. was an early innovator of shipping commodities via container and is currently the largest U.S. exporter of agricultural products by container. Learn more at delongcompany.com.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas in 2021 was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award and was named Site Selection Magazine’s Best Business Climate in the West North Central region of the United States. Find the Department’s strategic plan for economic growth here: Kansas Framework for Growth.

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Virtual Job Fair for Open Positions

Kansas Department of Commerce Hosting Virtual Job Fair for Open Positions

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland today encouraged job seekers to participate in the January 12 KANSASWORKS Virtual Job Fair, which will feature openings at the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The virtual job fair will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 12, and allow job seekers to easily live chat and conduct interviews with Human Resources team members on computers, tablets and mobile devices. Job candidates also will be able to upload their resumes to their Virtual Job Fair account.

Click here to register for the Virtual Job Fair.

“We have an outstanding team at the Department of Commerce, with motivated and talented individuals doing an extraordinary job every day serving the people of Kansas,” Lieutenant Governor/Secretary Toland said. “We’re looking for new team members who are eager to contribute to our mission of advancing economic growth and prosperity across the state.”

The Jan. 12 job fair will seek to fill the following positions at Commerce: Director of Marketing and Communications; Communications Coordinator for the Marketing-Communications Division; Program Manager for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program; Main Street Design Specialist for Kansas Main Street; Website and Database Manager for the Tourism Division; and other openings.

Numerous virtual job fairs have been organized by Commerce since the pandemic started, serving as a safe and convenient way to successfully connect Kansas job seekers and employers.

Any individual with a disability may request accommodations for this or future job fairs by contacting their nearest workforce center at (877) 509-6757 prior to the event.

About KANSASWORKS

KANSASWORKS links businesses, job candidates and educational institutions to ensure that employers can find skilled workers. Services are provided to employers and job candidates through the state’s 27 workforce centers, online or virtual services KANSASWORKS is completely free for all Kansans to use.  Learn more at kansasworks.com.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas in 2021 was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award and was named Site Selection Magazine’s Best Business Climate in the West North Central region of the United States. Find the Department’s strategic plan for economic growth here: Kansas Framework for Growth.

Governor Issues Disaster Declaration

Governor Laura Kelly Issues 15-Day Disaster Declaration, Two Executive Orders to Aid Kansas Hospital and Adult Care Home Capacity

~No new mandates or closures will be issued~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today signed a State of Disaster Emergency to alleviate healthcare staffing shortages and facilities’ constraints caused by the surge in COVID-19 cases. Governor Kelly also signed executive orders 22-01 and 22-02 which temporarily suspend certain statutes and regulations for adult care homes and certain health care providers.

“Just as I did at the start of the pandemic, today I am again issuing orders to provide our hospitals and nursing homes with the necessary staffing flexibility to keep the residents, patients, and staff safe,” Governor Kelly said. “This disaster declaration provides a 15-day solution to give our front-line health care workers the support they need as they battle this COVID-19 surge. This action is temporary until the legislature returns, at which I time I will work with them to pass legislation to extend my executive orders through the month of March.”

The 15-day disaster declaration activates the state’s disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan. The declaration also allows for the Governor to suspend certain statutes, orders or rules and regulations that prevent, hinder, or delay in any way necessary action in coping with the disaster.

E.O. 22-01 provides temporary relief from certain restrictions and requirements governing the provision of medical services.

E.O. 22-02 relaxes or suspends licensure, certification, and registration for persons and licensure of adult care homes.

“I urge all Kansans to do their part by getting vaccinated and boosted, which will both help prevent COVID-19 transmissions and more severe cases that require hospitalization, and also help in maintaining our critical infrastructure and economy intact” Governor Kelly said.

Kansas is currently experiencing significant increases in COVID-19 cases following the winter holidays and from the new Omicron variant. Medical professionals anticipate that the numbers will worsen throughout the month of January and into early February.  Early data indicates that while the Omicron variant causes milder symptoms, it is more transmissible, even amongst vaccinated individuals.

Please find the state disaster declaration here.

COVID-19 Update and Status on Kansas Hospitals.

COVID-19 Courtesy photo.
The COVID-19 Update for Kansas, per Kansas Department of Health and Environment:
There have been 15,332 new cases, 15 new deaths, and 104 new hospitalizations since Monday (1/3/22).
The average age of the COVID-19 case is 39.

Rebecca Johnston, Southeast Kansas Multi-Health Department Administrator, presented a  link to a Youtube video on a presentation about the dire state that Kansas Hospitals are in right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz62gGguXhw

“I urge our residents to wear a mask in large gatherings, use good hygiene, practice social distancing, get vaccinated if able and stay home when sick!” she said.

The following is the updated Kansas guidelines:

2022 Updated COVID-19 Guidelines

For General Population + K-12 Schools

January 6, 2022

IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19:

ISOLATE

EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS:

  • Stay home for at least 5 days
  • Stay home as long as you have symptoms. If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms resolve, you can leave your house after a minimum of 5 days of isolation.
  • Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days after you leave isolation.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19:

QUARANTINE PROCEDURES

IF YOU ARE VACCINATED:

IF YOU: Have been boosted

OR

Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months

OR

Completed the primary series of J&J vaccines within the last 2 months

OR

Have had lab-confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days

YOU SHOULD:

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days
  • Test on day 5, if possible
  • If you develop symptoms at any time, get tested and stay home.

IF YOU ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED:

IF YOU: Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than 6 months ago and are not boosted

OR

Completed the primary series of J&J more than 2 months ago and are not boosted

OR

Are unvaccinated

YOU SHOULD:

  • Stay home for 5 days
  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days
  • Test on day 5, if possible
  • If you develop symptoms at any time, get tested and stay home
  • Household contacts may leave home quarantine on the positive case’s day 11 as long as:
  1. the positive case has worn a mask in the home while around the household contact during their isolation
  2. the household contact is not experiencing symptoms, are fever free and wear a mask around others for the remaining 5 days

*Please note: these guidelines are not for healthcare workers or congregate settings (correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, daycares).

COVID-19 Booster Shot and Additional Primary Dose for Immunocompromised Children

KDHE Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shot and Additional Primary Dose for Immunocompromised Children

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and additional primary dose for immunocompromised children following authorization from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). KDHE has authorized the 2,000+ COVID-19 vaccine providers across Kansas to begin administering the booster shot and additional primary dose to eligible populations.

“It has been proven that that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and is the best tool to protect you and your loved ones from serious illness, hospitalization and death. Our hospitals continue to report that the large majority of patients hospitalized with COVID, particularly those on ventilators, are not vaccinated,” Janet Stanek, Acting Secretary, said. “Today’s announcement to expand eligibility opens up the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot to an additional 36,000 children who received their primary series at least 5 months ago. The Pfizer booster shot is shown to increase the neutralizing antibodies by 25-fold compared to just two doses. Now is the best time to get the booster shot or get the primary series if you have not gotten it to protect yourself and your family.”

The following updates were made to COVID-19 booster shot eligibility.

  • Children ages 12-15 are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster. Today, the CDC authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot for children ages 12-15 to be administered 5 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series. 36,474 of the 68,476 children who have completed the Pfizer-BioNTech primary series are now eligible to receive the vaccine booster.
  • Shortened booster waiting period. People can now receive a booster shot 5 months after completing the Pfizer-BioNTech primary series. This change comes following the January 4 announcement by the CDC. The waiting period for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (2 months) or the Moderna vaccine (6 months) has not changed. The CDC has listed the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna as the preferred COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the CDC allows for mix and match dosing for booster shots.

The following update was made to the additional primary dose eligibility for immunocompromised people.

Moderately or severely immunocompromised children ages 5-11 can now receive an additional primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine administered 28 days after their second shot. This change comes following the January 4 announcement by the CDC.

Click here to find the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility information for primary, additional and booster vaccines.

KDHE continues to urge Kansans to use the following tools to protect against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

  • Get vaccinated and boosted. Vaccines remain the best tool to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. The authorized COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and death. The COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States are expected to protect against serious illness, hospitalizations, and death in people infected with the Omicron variant, especially for people who have received a booster. COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized for people ages 5 and over. Moderately or severely immunocompromised people ages 5 and over should receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot. The COVID-19 booster shots are authorized for all people ages 12 and over. To find a vaccine near you, visit Vaccines.gov.
  • Wear a mask. Masks offer protection against all variants. It is recommended that people in Kansas wear a well-fitting mask in public indoor settings, where COVID-19 transmission remains high, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Get tested. If you are sick or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, it is recommended that you get tested for COVID-19. COVID-19 tests are available across Kansas. Go to KnowBeforeYouGoKS.com to find a free testing location near you.    At-home tests are available for purchase at grocery stores and pharmacies. If a positive result is received through an at-home test, people should follow up with a health care provider for a confirmation test.
  • Social distance. People should avoid large gatherings and stay at least 6 feet from others when in public settings, especially if you are at higher risk of getting sick.

Emergency Food Assistance Benefits Extended for 63,000 Kansas households

 

TOPEKA – In an effort to continue supporting Kansans as they manage the impacts of COVID-19 and the multiple variants of the virus, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) announced the continuation of the emergency food assistance (SNAP) benefits to current participants.

The extension will increase the maximum monthly benefit for 63,000 households across the state and deliver an additional $14,591,000 per month to Kansas.

“Our goal at DCF is to protect children and strengthen families,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “The extension of the emergency food assistance benefits will help ensure Kansas families continue to have access to healthy groceries and basic necessities.”

The continuance of the emergency allotment is effective through July 31, 2022, or upon the termination of the federal declaration of a Public Health Emergency, whichever occurs sooner. This is the second instance the emergency food assistance benefit has been extended.

No application is necessary to receive the emergency food assistance funds. The distribution will continue to follow the standard alphabetical schedule.

Those who do not currently receive food assistance, but are interested in applying, are encouraged to visit the DCF website at www.dcf.ks.gov.

Secretary Howard issued the Declaration of Continuing Benefits due to COVID-19 — under K.S.A. 39-708c, et seq. — which directs the agency to continue taking all necessary actions to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the State of Kansas.

Ks Cybersecurity Task Force Report Released

Governor Laura Kelly Announces the Release of the Cybersecurity Task Force Final Report

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today the release of the Cybersecurity Task Force’s final report. In the Task Force’s report of forty-one recommendations, they identified seventeen as critical. These critical recommendations are essential to the implementation of other recommendations, or in the absence of resources, these critical recommendations should be implemented for greatest impact.

“These cyber security recommendations put Kansas on a path to be proactive in securing our data while also growing our workforce,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Thanks to the Task Force for your hard work and diligence these last five months. It’s never been more important to strengthen our cybersecurity.”

The Task Force began meeting regularly in August and delivered its first report, an interim report, in early October. The final report, submitted in early December, is the result of several more months of meeting with stakeholders from across and outside of Kansas to help identify both the gaps and capabilities in Kansas’ cybersecurity posture.

“Important to us was to provide the Governor with actionable recommendations that can increase the cybersecurity posture of Kansas and grow its cybersecurity workforce,” said co-chairs Mike Mayta and Jeff Maxon. “After meeting with stakeholders, we feel confident in the potential that Kansas possesses. Countless efforts are happening locally and at a regional level, and our recommendations aim to bring those efforts together and scale them so they can strengthen Kansas as a whole.”

In addition to meeting with stakeholders, the Task Force solicited public feedback to help determine new recommendations for inclusion in the final report as well as any refining of the recommendations first published in the interim report.

The final report includes five new recommendations while consolidating and streamlining others, taking the report from forty-five to forty-one recommendations. Recommendations are organized by subject areas such as Cybersecurity Governance and Strategy and Incident Response Exercises and Training while also giving some recommendations priority distinction of critical or high. The Task Force identified these critical and high priority recommendations as ones that are critical to the implementation of others while also having significant impacts on cybersecurity.

The Task Force’s final report can be found here.

The Task Force’s interim report can be found here.

In Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.: Lunch and Learn

There will be a Lunch and Learn about segragation practices in Wichita in the 1950s on Monday, January 17th, 2022, from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. at the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center on the campus of Fort Scott Community College.

Attendance is free.

Lunch provided by Luther’s BBQ (visitors may bring their own lunch)
Drinks and desserts provided by Great Western Dining.

The event is called Martin Luther King, Jr.  Lunch and Learn  “Dockum Drugstore Sit-In”

The presentation explores Wichita’s Dockum Drugstore Sit-In
Guest Speaker is  Prisca Barnes.

In July 1958, Black Students gathered at Wichita’s Dockum Drugstore to stage a peaceful protest against the unequal practice of segregation. Although this protest was not publicized in the newspapers in 1958, the students participating in the demonstration worked to gain access to public spaces, like movie theaters and restaurants. This presentation discusses the details of the sit-in, explores how these protests helped transform the struggle for racial equality, and considers contemporary non-violent protests.

Prisca Barnes is the founder of Storytime Village, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Wichita that promotes reading among low-income children and families. She is a passionate advocate for equity in education and literacy.

“The Dockum Drugstore Sit-In” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and workshops designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.

For more information about “The Dockum Drugstore Sit-In” contact the Gordon Parks Museum.