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With ‘endemic normalcy,’ Kansas plans fewer COVID updates

March 31, 2022 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is planning fewer updates of data about COVID-19 now that Gov. Laura Kelly has declared that the state is moving toward treating it as a disease like the flu that spreads regularly and isn’t considered a pandemic requiring emergency measures.

Kelly said the state Department of Health and Environment will continue to support access to free COVID-19 testing, work to ensure that vulnerable populations can get vaccinated, see that providers serve a broad population and give “comprehensive guidance” about the virus.

But the health department will update its online dashboards on COVID-19 cases and vaccinations only on Fridays starting next week, spokesperson Matt Lara said. The data is now updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Democratic governor’s announcement came more than nine months after top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature ended a state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic over Kelly’s objections. Some GOP lawmakers have expressed frustration in recent weeks that Kelly’s administration had not formally declared an end to the pandemic.

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Kelly said that “endemic normalcy” will become the state’s “new normal.”

State health department data shows that Kansas reported an average of 10 new COVID-19 hospitalizations but 14 new deaths a day for the seven days ending Tuesday. It reported an average of 175 new cases a day for that period.