Kansas leaders will embrace asymptomatic COVID-19 circumstances of their assessments of virus traits as they consider when to take additional steps to ease stay-at-home orders and different social distancing measures.
The transfer represents a reversal after NPR station KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, reported final week that the state was omitting these cases from its information, portray a very optimistic image of the outbreak. Kansas had as an alternative checked out “symptom onset” information — a metric that by definition excludes individuals who take a look at constructive for the coronavirus however don’t develop signs.
The coverage change was enacted Monday, stated a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Kansas entered the primary part of the state’s “reopening” plan final week, permitting gatherings of 10 or fewer folks and letting libraries and baby care amenities reopen. Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, stated in a information convention final week that leaders would take extra steps cautiously.
“We’ll continue to reevaluate Kansas’ disease spread, testing rates, hospitalizations, personal protection equipment availability and other factors before moving from one phase to the next,” stated Kelly. “Science and data will dictate how quickly or how slowly the reopening unfolds.”
Kansas’ efforts to trace and mitigate COVID-19 have been hampered by years of low well being funding, which advocates say have left the native, county and state well being departments unprepared for the pandemic.
The symptom-onset metrics undercounted coronavirus circumstances in Kansas, in response to epidemiologists. Graphics representing that information appeared to indicate that new circumstances had been declining over the previous a number of weeks, once they truly had been rising.
Kansas has been testing massive populations in nursing properties, prisons and meatpacking crops — a proactive measure not all states are doing. That effort is discovering a whole bunch of asymptomatic and presymptomatic circumstances. But the symptom-onset information excludes individuals who by no means get signs and delays reporting individuals who take a look at constructive and finally get sick with COVID-19.
This story is a part of a reporting partnership that features KCUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.