COVID-19 update: March 17, 2020

Nearly every aspect of our nation’s activity has been impacted by the novel coronavirus. States, communities, businesses, and schools are implementing strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Yesterday, Governor Laura Kelly announced an executive order banning gatherings of 50 or more people in churches, restaurants, concerts, and other venues in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Her action was consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Combined with already implemented strategies—such as closure of public schools and universities—the ban on gatherings in Kansas is intended to “flatten the curve” of infection.

Also yesterday, the White House released “The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 days to slow the spread of coronavirus” (PDF).  The recommendations highlight steps to take over the coming two weeks that officials believe can reduce the infection rate. Those include eliminating gatherings of more than 10 people, avoiding dining in restaurants or bars, and postponing non-essential travel. The White House plan does not appear to supersede the CDC’s general guidance, rather focuses specifically on the next 15 days, a period that experts believe to be critically important in reducing infection rates.

The Kansas Legislature remains in session. However, observers expect the Legislature may adjourn sometime this week for an extended spring break. There is little certainty as to when—or if—they might return to complete their work. KMS continues to communicate with policymakers about bills of import to the practice of medicine.
The Kansas Medical Society and our Family of Companies (KAMMCO, Kansas Healthcare Collaborative, and Kansas Health Information Network) plan to keep our Topeka and Wichita offices open for business and implement appropriate safeguards for our employees. We recognize our members are on the front lines of this pandemic and we intend to be available to support you however we can.