Coronavirus surge in Kansas touches inmates, taxes, pastures
AP

Coronavirus surge in Kansas touches inmates, taxes, pastures

  • Updated
  • 0

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials are looking for extra hospital beds, releasing jail inmates and bracing for a slump in state tax collections as they add farmers' and ranchers' springtime practice of burning pastures to the list of things to avoid during the coronavirus pandemic.

With confirmed coronavirus cases having almost quadrupled over the past week, more than 1.7 million of the state's 2.9 million residents are facing local stay-at-home orders. That's taking an economic toll, and the state has seen a huge jump in claims of unemployment benefits.

Coronavirus-related developments Thursday in Kansas:

MORE CASES

The state has at least 168 confirmed coronavirus cases, an increase of 42 since Wednesday alone. There have been three deaths since March 11.

At least 14 counties have issued stay-at-home orders, covering more than 1.8 million of the state's 2.9 million residents, or 62%.

The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people but can cause a severe illness for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.

JAIL INMATES RELEASED

In the Wichita area, about 200 inmates have been released from the Sedgwick County Jail since mid-March over concerns about the coronavirus. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett told The Wichita Eagle that the goal is to give the Sedgwick County Jail “breathing room” so it has enough space to isolate inmates who might fall ill in the coming weeks.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

With 600 movie theaters across the U.S. closed, Leawood-based AMC Theatres has furloughed its entire corporate staff of about 400 people, The Kansas City Star reported.

Gov. Laura Kelly said in an interview that economic fallout is likely “hitting already” for state tax collections. She also postponed the state's income tax filing deadline to July 15 from April 15, delaying big collections that come in the spring.

State officials and university economists issue a new fiscal forecast for state government on April 20 that's expected to be more pessimistic about revenues.

But there was some good news Thursday, at least for auto workers in the Kansas City area: Ford Motor Co. announced that it plans to reopen its plant in Claycomo, Missouri, on April 14.

BURNING HALT SOUGHT

The state health department and the Kansas Department of Agriculture urged land owners and managers to reduce the number of acres of pasture they burn this spring because of the coronavirus outbreak. Dr. Lee Norman, the state's health secretary, said officials want to lessen the chances of people developing other respiratory ailments that would send them to overstressed hospitals.

LOOKING FOR BEDS

Norman said a health department team is talking to U.S. Veterans Administration officials about the possibility of moving all patients from the state's three VA hospitals into one hospital to free up VA beds for coronavirus patients.

He said the state also is talking with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about reconfiguring existing buildings to create alternative care sites. The Corps posted an online notice Thursday asking construction firms in Kansas and Missouri to provide information about whether they're interested in such work.

REPORT CLOSES CENTER

Call center operator Maximus on Monday closed one of its buildings in Lawrence because an employee reported testing positive for COVID-19. But the company said in a statement Thursday that the employee later acknowledged there was no test, and disciplinary action is being taken for an abuse of an enhanced paid leave policy meant to keep employees paid if they are quarantined or must care for a sick family member.

The company has between 1,500 and 2,000 employees working at two buildings in a Lawrence business park. Only one building was shut down, but it reopened Thursday after being sanitized, the company said.

———

Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

0
0
0
0
0

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is poised to approve an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package that will provide one-time checks for most Americans and significant enhancements to unemployment benefits. Both will provide much-needed help to those recently laid-off and to financially stressed households as the coronavirus shuts down much of the economy.

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — After days of desperate pleas from the nation’s governors, President Donald Trump took a round of steps to expand the federal government’s role in helping produce critically needed supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic even as he warned the leaders of hard-hit states not to cross him.

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — The contrast could hardly be more stark. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has said that if all of his sweeping, expensive measures to stem the coronavirus saved one life, it would be worth it. President Donald Trump has another view: The costs of shutting down the economy outweigh the benefits, frequently telling Americans that 35,000 people a year die from the common flu.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News