Lyon County Public Health and Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials confirmed the 10th known death related to COVID-19, Wednesday afternoon, as local hospitalizations saw another noticeable increase.
The patient who died was a white male in his 70s. The cause of death was confirmed Tuesday.
“Our public health team wishes to extend our deepest condolences for the loss of your loved one” Health Officer Renee Hively said in a written statement.
This is the third death related to two ongoing clusters at long term care facilities in Emporia.
Five new cases were reported Wednesday, bringing the county’s total number of active cases to 61. There have been 629 cases reported since March, with 557 recoveries and 10 deaths.
Two additional hospitalizations were listed Wednesday, with eight local patients being treated for COVID-19. On Tuesday, Newman Regional Health confirmed to The Emporia Gazette that it was currently treating six COVID-19 inpatients.
The hospital has six ICU beds, 25 regular beds and 21 staffed beds.
On Wednesday, Kansas health officials reported 14 more COVID-19 deaths since Monday, bringing the state’s toll to 349.
KDHE said the number of reported 698 new cases since Monday, bringing the state’s total to 26,870. The number of cases is thought to be far higher because people can be infected without feeling sick and because of a lack of testing.
Despite the mounting cases and deaths, Gov. Laura Kelly will be unable to impose statewide restrictions on businesses or mass gatherings until Sept. 15 under a new state law.
Even if the Democratic governor and the Republicans-dominated Legislature could agree on a course of action, a provision in the hastily passed measure makes state government largely powerless to order changes in business practices or limit crowd sizes for seven more weeks.
That provision gives counties and cities near-total power until mid-September to decide whether to limit businesses or gatherings. Most counties have already opted out of the governor’s mask mandate.