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Dr. Lee Norman says more challenges with COVID-19 to come in fall, winter and early spring

(John Hanna | AP)
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 1:36 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman compared the COVID-19 pandemic to football with fall, winter and spring ahead bringing new challenges.

“My estimate is that kind of we’re about at the end of the first quarter,” he said.

Norman said he has a hunch that COVID-19 cases will level off, if students going to school and college students on campus take the right actions.

“I think there are going to be some real challenges as we start congregating more,” he said. “I think it’s going to be important kids are able to cohort and to not congregate and that’s what the school is working on.”

New challenges include making decision on extracurricular activities, like sports.

He said, “From a public health standpoint, there’s no question we would reduce the risk of disease transmission were we not to have those. I think those things are important and if they can be done safely to mitigate the risk, I think it would be great to continue with them.”

That the correct actions like wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing, and staying home if sick could help students and adults.

“Those are things that are within our grasps now and they will continue to be dramatically effective but we have to do them, but with kids especially I think it’s important for them to say you are not helpless against this and we’re in this together.”

He also said it's more important than ever to get your flu vaccination this year.

Kansas ranks 6th in the country in terms of positivity rate at just over 10%. The national average is 5.8%.

Aug. 26, 6:30 p.m.

Kansas has 6th highest COVID-19 positive rate in nation

Dr. Lee Norman says Kansas has the 6th highest COVID-19 positive rate in the nation and the 16th highest for cases per 100,000 people.

Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, says Kansas has seen an increase of 11 deaths and 1,536 positive cases since its Monday report. He says there are also 11 new clusters bringing the total to 153 active clusters.

According to Dr. Norman, there are 108 cases per 100,000 in the state, which makes Kansas the 16th highest in the nation, compared to the national average of 93 per 100,000.

Dr. Norman also says that Kansas has a positive rate of 10.3%, which is the 6th highest in the nation.

Dr. Norman says compared to the rest of the nation 20% of new cases of COVID-19 are arising in the midwest. He says as southern states continue to eliminate spread, the midwest will continue to see a rise in this number.

As the school year beings, he said it’s important to continue to watch the cases in all counties, making prevention vital for adults and students going back to the classroom.

“I think it’s going to be important kids are able to cohort and to not congregate and that’s what the school is working on,” he said.

According to the KDHE Secretary, flu season is upon the state as fall is right around the corner. He says this year, the influenza vaccine will be more important than in years past.

He says community spread is quite active and continues to be an issue.

“If this were a football game, my estimate is that kind of we’re about at the end of the first quarter. Meaning that we with fall, and winter and early spring coming, I think we have still have quite a number of months ahead of us,” he said.

The KDHE Secretary says he wants to remind Kansans, especially children, that we are not helpless against the virus. He says the things we know about social distancing, mask usage, hand washing and testing are all within our grasp and will continue to be vital in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Aug. 26, 1:30 p.m.

Dr. Lee Norman holds COVID-19 news conference

Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Envrionment, Dr. Lee Norman, will hold a COVID-19 news conference on Wednesday.

Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Dr. Lee Norman, says he will hold a news conference updating residents on COVID-19 in the state on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Watch on here or on the 13 News Facebook page.

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