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Number of coronavirus cases in Kansas jumps by 568

June 26, 2020 GMT

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Kansas jumped by 568, fueled in part by outbreaks in sports practices and tournaments.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday that there were now 13,538 cases, up 4.3% from Wednesday and 12% from last Friday. The state also reported three more deaths, bringing the total to 264 since the pandemic began in early March.

There have been 18 cases in sports clusters, according to the state, which included the category for the first time Friday. No one has died in the clusters.

They include the MAYB Boys Basketball Tournament in Wichita and the MAYB Girls Basketball Tournament in Hays on June 20-21. The KDHE is warning anyone who attended the tournaments to be on the lookout for symptoms after two people at each event tested positive.

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“Sports settings by their very nature may pose a higher risk for spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Lee Norman, the head of the KDH, said in a news release. “Sports have athletes breathing heavy from physical exertion and spreading respiratory droplets, close contact with other players, indoor spaces where it may be difficult for individuals to remain 6 feet (1.83 meters) apart and attendees who travel from outside the local area. Because of this, it is paramount that individuals choosing to participate or attend sporting events take precautions.”

The state also reported 36 more meatpacking cases over the past two days, bringing the total to 3,144, as well as 30 more cases tied to other industries. Another 28 additional cases are linked to gatherings, 24 to long-term care facilities, seven to healthcare and five to group living.

Meanwhile, cases in schools and day cares rose to 15 from 11 on Monday. Information on the category wasn’t reported Wednesday.

The vast majority of the state’s newly confirmed cases, though, were not tied to a larger cluster.

Cases across the country have been surging as states reopen. Earlier this week, Gov. Laura Kelly recommended that communities wait a little bit longer before moving to the next phase of reopening.

Kelly said Friday that health officials have deployed a mobile testing unit to help communities with COVID-19 testing.

“In order to combat the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopen Kansas, our public health experts must be able to track the scale and scope of this virus,” Kelly said. “Working with local communities and public health officials, this mobile unit helps us reach the vulnerable populations that are experiencing barriers to testing access.”

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