TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly, during a press conference Saturday, March 28, announced a statewide stay-at-home order for Kansas to help fight the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The temporary order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 30, and will last at least through Sunday, April 19, Kelly said.
Several Kansas counties, including Miami County, had already issued stay-at-home orders for their residents, but Kelly said she believes a statewide order will be easier for everyone to follow.
“A patchwork approach is a recipe for confusion,” Kelly said. “Statewide uniformity will ensure we’re all playing by the same rules, and it will help prevent an influx of new cases for local health departments, many of which are already stretched to the max.”
The guidelines of the stay-at-home order are similar to those already in place in many areas. Residents are asked to stay at home unless they are going to work to perform an essential function, getting food or medicine, seeking medical care, caring for children, pets or a vulnerable person in another location or exercising outside while practicing social distancing and adhering to the statewide order preventing gatherings of more than 10 people.
“You are not under house arrest,” Kelly said. “I know this is hard, and I can’t tell you how much I wish it weren’t necessary, but this is our window to ensure Kansas does not suffer the terrible fate of other hard-hit states, like New York and Missouri.”
Kansas has 368 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, March 30, but Kelly said projections show that number could climb to 900 in the next week. Kelly said the state also does not yet have adequate testing supplies to ensure reliable numbers.
With that in mind, Kelly said she decided to add Kansas to the list of 22 other states with stay-at-home orders.
Miami County’s stay-at-home order began Wednesday, March 25, and was scheduled to continue until 12:01 a.m. Thursday, April 23. Kelly said the new order supersedes the existing orders.