Category Archives: COVID-19

Free COVID Tests Available Through June 2023

Free COVID-19 Tests Still Available for All Kansas Communities Through June 2023.

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today announced a change to the Project Access COVID Tests program (Project ACT), allowing all Kansas households to request free, at-home COVID-19 tests through June 15, 2023. Residents are encouraged to order additional free tests while supplies last.

All Kansas households can order free COVID-19 tests through Each household can place an order for 5 at-home COVID-19 test kits. Amazon will deliver the test kits directly to your house. Kansans who need more support to order tests may call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF).

KDHE has already distributed 308,615 tests to Kansas families through Project ACT.

“The ending of the public health emergency is expected to change access to free testing, but our partnership with Project ACT helps us continue to ease access for households with limited access to health care,” said Joan Duve, M.D., state health officer. “Testing continues to help Kansans know whether to stay home or to seek treatment.”

Individuals should check their test’s expiration date before using it. If the date has passed, the test may still be appropriate to use; check for an FDA extension at

The Project ACT program is made possible through a partnership between KDHE and The Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity, RF Catalytic Capital.

Free COVID-19 Tests Reordering Available for All Kansas Households

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity, RF Catalytic Capital and Project Access to Covid Tests (Project ACT), is providing a second round of free at-home COVID-19 tests to households in all Kansas communities. All Kansas households can now visit to place an order for an additional five at-home COVID-19 test kits. Amazon will deliver the test kits directly to your house.

Testing before holiday gatherings is one way to prevent spreading COVID-19 to family and friends. Frequent testing is especially important for those with more exposure outside the home, such as kids in school or people who spend time in a group setting. By visiting, Kansans will be able enter their zip code to order free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits.

Kansans who need more support in ordering can call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF).

If you need additional testing, please visit to find a free testing site in your community.


Sliding fee discounts and financial assistance is available to eligible patients, as stated on the front door of the CHC/SEK Clinic in Fort Scott.

 The new boosters are formulated to better protect against COVID-19 variants

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is now offering updated COVID-19 booster, Pfizer-BioNTech Bivalent vaccine.

The BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant are currently causing most cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and are predicted to circulate this fall and winter.

The updated boosters are available at most CHC/SEK locations at no out-of-pocket cost to the recipients. Vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis, or by appointment at most CHC/SEK locations.  

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent

Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

The bivalent vaccines, which are also referred to as “updated boosters,” contain two messenger RNA (mRNA) components of SARS-CoV-2 virus, one of the original strains of SARS-CoV-2 and the other one in common between the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. 

“COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, continue to save lives and prevent the most serious outcomes (hospitalization and death) of COVID-19,” said Linda Bean, D.O., FAAFP Chief Clinical Officer at Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. 

“As we head into the fall and winter season with the potential for greater virus spread in schools and at work, now is the time for everyone who is eligible to consider receiving a booster dose with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccination to provide better protection against currently circulating variants.”


CHC/SEK now has Novavax protein-based COVID-19 vaccine available 

Sliding fee discounts and financial assistance is available to eligible patients, as stated on the front door of the CHC/SEK Clinic in Fort Scott.

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) clinics has received the recently authorized Novavax vaccine as the latest tool in the fight against COVID-19. To date, the Baxter Springs, Coffeyville, Columbus, Fort Scott, Iola, Parsons, Pittsburg, and Pittsburg South clinics have received doses. Vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis, or by appointment.  There is no out-of-pocket cost to receive the vaccine at CHC/SEK. 

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is the latest authorized and recommended vaccine to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by the virus. Novavax is manufactured using a familiar type of protein-based vaccine technology that has been used for more than 30 years in shots that help prevent diseases like shingles, hepatitis B, the flu and other illnesses.  

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine on July 13 for the prevention of COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 12 years of age and older who have not received a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine previously. 

Access to multiple types of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC gives people more options and flexibility to choose their vaccine.   

The Novavax vaccine is given in a two-dose primary series, with a second dose administered between three-to-eight weeks after the first.  

Neither a booster nor a third dose is authorized at this time. 

“We now have another tool to manage COVID-19,” said Linda Bean, D.O., FAAFP, Chief Clinical Officer at CHC/SEK. “Novavax provides another option for a safe, effective and free vaccine. With the BA.5 variant continuing to spread, now is the best time to get a vaccine if you haven’t already.”

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, testing and treatments, visit

COVID-19 Vaccine Available For 6 months to 6 years

Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines will now be available for Kansas Children Ages 6 Months to 6 years

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today announced that Kansas has adopted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) authorization for administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years old and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 6 years old.

“The vaccine remains the best way to protect from serious illness. This important development will help keep children safe and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Janet Stanek, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “We encourage all parents or guardians of eligible Kansans to discuss this with their healthcare provider or the medical professional at the location where you receive care about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot.”

These vaccines have undergone clinical trials specifically for people ages for children ages 6 months to 6 years old to determine that the vaccine is safe, effective and appropriately dosed to minimize possible side effects.

The two vaccines are expected to arrive later this week to Kansas providers, at that time children ages 6 months to 6 years old will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from a large network of vaccine providers across Kansas, including doctor’s offices, retail pharmacies, local health departments, and clinics.

In addition, many community partners and schools may also offer the COVID-19 vaccine for Kansas children. Information on locations offering vaccines for children ages 6 months to 6 years old will be available at, and we recommend calling your local provider to confirm availability as well.

More information can be found at

Kansas shifts from emergency pandemic response to new normal

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Transition to COVID-19 Endemic Response


TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today announced their continued efforts to shift to the next chapter of the COVID-19 response, pivoting from emergency pandemic response to endemic normalcy. On April 1, KDHE will make changes to continue the transition from emergency response to our ‘new normal,’ which includes life with COVID-19—similar to how we deal with other recurring diseases like the flu. Using the lessons learned over the past two years, KDHE will continue to ensure the State is prepared for potential surges or other needs that might arise in the future.

“Kansas is continuing the transition to a new phase of understanding and living with COVID-19,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “We know the pandemic is not over, however we now have the tools and knowledge obtained over the past two years to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus. We are normalizing our COVID-19 response and incorporating these lessons into our larger efforts at improving health outcomes for all Kansans, which includes work on multiple diseases and an awareness of differing risk factors.”

This decision comes as current COVID-19 metrics are moving in the right direction. Over the last two years, KDHE has made significant progress in keeping Kansas communities safe with the help of partners throughout the State: over 7 million tests have been given, over 4 million vaccines have been administered, and over 78% of eligible Kansans have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

“In our new normal, we will continue to ensure that Kansans have equitable access to life-saving vaccines, tests, and treatments. This shift does not mean that COVID is over, but rather we are working to manage the disease in a way that allows us to maintain a more normal life that is once again filled with friends, families and other loved ones,” said KDHE Secretary Janet Stanek.

Working with Local Health Departments (LHDs) and stakeholders, KDHE’s endemic plan addresses six key areas that are designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Kansans:

  • Intervention: KDHE will continue to provide comprehensive guidance, while continuing to offer additional assistance to underserved and/or vulnerable populations.
  • Vaccination: KDHE will focus on making sure vulnerable populations have access to the COVID-19 vaccine while existing vaccine providers, including health care providers, pharmacists, hospitals, and LHDs, will continue to serve the broader population.
  • Treatment: KDHE will continue to ensure Kansans will be able to receive COVID-19 treatment across the State, as treatment distribution shifts away from public health entities and back to local health care providers.
  • Testing: KDHE will continue to support access to free testing across the state through community testing sites, LHDs, and K-12 schools as long as federal funding is available. In addition, the federal government provides direct testing support to Federally Qualified Health Centers and pharmacies around the state. To find a free testing location near you, go to KDHE testing support for Long Term Care Facilities will be phased out on May 15, 2022, and testing support for employers ends on June 30, 2022.
  • Monitoring: KDHE will continue to monitor data as reported by organizations and facilities across the state to understand the status of COVID-19 and proactively identify at-risk groups. Public reporting will be reduced to once a week.
  • Communications: KDHE will continue to provide essential and accessible COVID information to keep Kansans safe and aware of any subsequent changes to COVID-19 response efforts.

Across each of the above areas, KDHE will remain prepared to ramp up capacity to quickly respond to a surge and keep Kansans safe should the need arise.

COVID-19 Second Booster Available

KDHE Supports FDA and CDC Recommendation for Second Dose of COVID-19 Booster for Certain Individuals

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has authorized the over 2,000 COVID-19 vaccine providers across Kansas to begin offering a second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for individuals aged 50 and over and certain immunocompromised individuals following authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, CDC recommends adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

These updated recommendations acknowledge the increased risk of severe disease in certain populations, including those who are over the age of 50 with multiple underlying conditions, along with the currently available data on vaccine and booster effectiveness.

The following updates were made to booster shot eligibility.

  • A second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered to individuals 50 years of age and older at least 4 months after receipt of a first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
  • A second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered to individuals 12 years of age and older with certain kinds of immunocompromise at least 4 months after receipt of a first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine. These are people who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who are living with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.
  • A second booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered at least 4 months after the first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine to individuals 18 years of age and older with the same certain kinds of immunocompromise.

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. COVID-19 booster shots are authorized for all people ages 12 and over. To find a vaccine near you, visit



CHC/SEK continues testing, vaccine for uninsured

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) will continue to test and vaccinate under-insured, or patients without insurance for COVID-19 even though the federal program that reimburses hospitals, clinics, doctors and other service providers for COVID-19 care for uninsured people is coming to a close.

“COVID-19 is still with us,” said Jason Wesco, President & Chief Strategy Officer at CHC/SEK. “If uninsured individuals in our communities hesitate to get care because of the cost, we’ll likely see more cases, and the consequences those cases might cause.”

With lack of additional funding, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced this week that the program that reimburses hospitals, clinics, doctors and other service providers for COVID-19 care for uninsured people is ending. “The lack of funding for COVID-19 needs is having real consequences,” Martin Kramer, a spokesman for the Health Resources and Services Administration, said in a statement. “We have begun an orderly shutdown of the program.”

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are down dramatically across most parts of the country, however with another Omicron variant surging in Europe, some scientists are concerned that another US surge could be on its way.

Wesco says CHC/SEK wants anyone who thinks they might be ill to be tested and treated.

“It’s important not only for your health, but for the health of your family, friends and neighbors,” he said. “Continued testing and vaccination are the right thing to do, and the key to putting this pandemic behind us.”

Senate Passes Resolution To End COVID-19 State of Emergency

Senate PASSES Marshall’s Resolution to End COVID State of Emergency

(Washington, D.C., March 3, 2022) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. released the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted 48-47 in favor of his legislation to end the COVID-19 national state of emergency currently in effect under the National Emergencies Act (NEA). Despite all scientific advances and our possession of a much greater understanding of COVID, President Joe Biden stealthily extended the national emergency declaration two weeks ago. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s speech.

“After nearly two years of living under this state of emergency, the American people are worn out and yearning to breathe free; they long for their God-given freedoms, and for leaders to take their side. There is no doubt, it’s time for our nation to learn to live with COVID,” said Senator Marshall. “I am proud my colleagues came together to repeal this emergency declaration and delivered a symbolic victory to our citizens that normalcy is around the corner and that limited government and our constitutional rights still reign supreme. It’s high time to stop talking about restrictions and the unknown. We must chart a new course to victory today that respects the virus and our freedoms.”


Child Care Providers Grants Announced

Governor Laura Kelly Announces $160 Million to Support Child Care Providers in Kansas

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced $160 million in grants available for child care providers in Kansas. The third round of Child Care Sustainability Grants will aid child care providers in meeting the costs of operating their businesses through the remaining impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we grow the economy, these grants will provide the continued support our child care facilities need to stay open and ensure that Kansas families have access to safe, quality child care.” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This support will help our child care facilities, it will help Kansas parents, and it will help our economy.”

Qualifying child care providers are guaranteed nine months of payments ranging from $1,800 per month for family child care programs to $18,000 per month for large centers. In addition, the providers will be eligible for an additional five months of funding either in the same amount or more, depending on the utilization of the grants during the first nine months.

“When Covid-19 hit, we were so thankful that we were still able to be open and be there for our parents and the children who needed a safe and familiar place to go,” said Kristele Blessings, Precious Blessings Development Center. “During that time, we as a small business took a hit when some of our parents weren’t able to work due to the pandemic and we lost some of our expected income.

“These grants have afforded us the ability to provide child care in the safest and most precautious way for our staff, children, and parents,” she continued.

Precious Blessings Development Center received $20,000 in grants from the first two cycles. It is located in Topeka.

“As their businesses continue to recover from drop in classroom sizes, delayed capital improvements, and unexpected expenses for sanitization and personal protection equipment, child care providers can use the grant dollars how they need it most,” Department of Children and Families Secretary Laura Howard said. “These grants offer great flexibility to fulfill the needs of the providers.”

The grant program will be administered by Child Care Aware of Kansas. The grant application is available starting March 1 at Applications are accepted until Nov. 30, 2022. Grant dollars may be used for personnel costs, rent/mortgage, utilities, personal protective equipment, goods or services, purchases of or updates to equipment and supplies, and mental health supports.

“Financial support from these grants represent an unprecedented investment in the stabilization of our existing child care infrastructure, ensuring that parents have a safe, nurturing environment for their young children,” said Kelly Davydov, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of Kansas. “These funds are critical to ensuring that child care businesses are able to keep paying staff, even when enrollment fluctuates due to illness. They also allow child care programs to absorb the increased cost of essential supplies, like food and personal protective equipment.”

To be considered for funding, newly licensed or established child care programs must maintain an active permanent license with Kansas Department of Health and Environment, whether they remain open or temporarily closed. Funds may be used for any normal operational expenses, additional expenses the child care program has due to meeting CDC guidance for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and other activities necessary to maintain or resume the operation of programs.

Qualifying child care providers in Kansas are encouraged to apply at

Round 1 and 2 of the Child Care Sustainability Grants provided $97 million in support to Kansas child care providers. Child Care Aware of Kansas estimates that nearly 211,000 children were impacted by the grants.

Round no. 1: $49.5 million
Round no. 2: $47.5 million

Vaccine Mandate For Healthcare Workers Blocked

PASSED: Sen. Marshall Resolution to Block Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers 

(Washington, D.C., March 2, 2022) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed his legislation to halt President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. Senator Marshall delivered remarks on the Senate floor prior to the vote. You may click HERE or on the image below to view the Senator’s speech.

“Make no mistake, this federal vaccine mandate is not about public health or science – it’s about Joe Biden fulfilling his desire to control every aspect of our lives, and it’s a slap in the face to the hard-working men and women who never took a day off on the frontline fight against COVID-19,” said Senator Marshall. “Today is a huge victory for all the healthcare workers who ran to the sound of the COVID battle as Senate Republicans joined forces taking us one step closer to invalidating President Biden’s overreaching and harmful CMS vaccine mandate. These workers are the true heroes of the pandemic and deserve our best fight and utmost respect.”


You may click HERE to view Senator Marshall’s remarks as prepared.


Senator Marshall’s resolution stops the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for virtually all healthcare employees and prevents any similar rule from being proposed in the future. The resolution now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives. Companion legislation was introduced by Representatives Jeff Duncan (SC) and has the support from over 168 members.

President Biden’s mandate would exacerbate staffing shortages and impose burdensome costs at health care facilities. According to CMS, the unfunded mandate will cost over $158 million to health care facilities to implement. For nursing homes and rural health providers, which already face staff shortages, losing even one percent of staff is catastrophic in their field. These providers would be forced to limit available services or close their doors for not meeting minimum staffing requirements. The rule also does not take into account infection-acquired immunity or the fact that vaccines do not prevent the transmission of the now dominant Omicron variant.

The CMS vaccine mandate was previously prohibited from taking effect by two federal courts in Louisiana and Missouri. While the Supreme Court ruled in January that the CMS has the statutory authority to impose conditions upon health care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid, it harms access to care for rural and underserved communities. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and nine other Attorneys General have asked a separate federal court to reopen litigation to lift the stay on further district proceedings.

The Congressional Review Act is a legal tool whereby Congress can overturn rules issued by federal agencies, once it has been properly noticed. “Proper notice” occurs once a regulation is printed in the Federal Register and received by the Clerks of the House and Senate.  The CMS vaccine mandate regulation was printed in the Federal Register on November 5, 2021. With more than 36 original cosponsors, the resolution received privilege in the Senate and allowed the body to vote on it.

Home COVID 19 Tests

A message from the SEK Multi-County Health Department on Home COVID Tests Through U.S. Postal Service.


  • How do I do the test?   Please refer to the instructions and read ALL the instructions before attempting to do the test.
  • My test kit was outside in the cold.  Is it still good?  Refer to the package instructions.
  • My test kits are bad, how do I get another one?  We are unsure if replacements are available. Refer to testing sites or those handing out test kits.
  • Do I have to report the results to someone?  No reporting is not required, refer to this link for isolation and quarantine guidance:–Quarantine-Guidance-and-FAQs-PDF—021522?bidId=
  • We used our test kits earlier but are exposed again, how do we get more?  The limit is 4 per household at this time.  Refer to the isolation and quarantine link above.
  • My test says positive, but the control didn’t work, what does that mean?  If the control doesn’t work, then the test MAY not be accurate.  Retest is needed.
  • I’m not comfortable doing the test, can I bring it in and have you help?  No, this is a home test kit.
  • Can I use this kit to test my child?  There will be a section in the instructions that has “limitations” and it should say if it’s not appropriate for certain groups.