Gov. Kelly finds upsurge in COVID-19 cases worrying

Kansas’ COVID-19 vaccination rate is less than 50 percent, which Gov. Laura Kelly says is concerning as a recent surge in positive cases of the virus has been noted here.

“It worries me a lot,” Gov. Kelly said of the state’s vaccination rate on Tuesday, July 20, which was at 47.8 percent yesterday. “We are doing what we can to get the message out and to persuade people who, up until this point, have not been persuadable or haven’t had access to it.”

During a phone interview, Gov. Kelly discussed COVID-19, as well as economic development and infrastructure efforts by her administration.

“We’re getting the vaccine out into the communities through health care providers. We’re also working with our business community so if they want to set up vaccine clinics on their premises, we’ll do that for them. We have mobile units out and about, and we’re doing everything that we possibly can,” Gov. Kelly said. “I want to ask people in Jackson County to drop any political concerns. This is not a political issue. This is a public health issue. For your own sake and the sake of the people around you, the only way we’re going to get through this and be able to really return to normal and keep our schools and businesses open is if people get vaccinated.”

Gov. Kelly said the state will continue to pay out extended federal unemployment benefits, which includes an extra $300 a week, to those who have been affected by COVID-19 despite calls from lawmakers and business owners to drop the benefits to encourage people to return to work. Those extra benefits are scheduled to end Sept. 6. 

“We really did study this issue quite thoroughly and watched what happened in states where they did suspend benefits,” Gov. Kelly said. “Is it the benefit or are there other things keeping people from going back to work? There’s a whole host of other things going on. People are taking early retirements and other people are staying home because their children are home in the summer.”

Gov. Kelly said she has expanded child care programs with new guidelines in order to subsidize childcare for more eligible families.

“We’ve also supported our providers and increased the number of childcare spots that are available to folks so childcare isn’t the impediment going back to work,” she said. 

Despite COVID-19, Gov. Kelly said the state’s economy is not suffering.

“We have the largest ending balance in the state’s history right now and that’s because the economy has been doing really well. Before we go on a massive spending spree though, I think we need to take a pause to see if the revenues carry into the next tax year,” she said. “This was a very unusual year with all the stimulus that came in and the stock market doing well. We just need to see if this was a blip or if it’s going to be sustained.”

For more on this story, please log in to your holtonrecorder.net account and select the July 28 edition under "E-Editions."

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Holton, KS 66436
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