Kansas surpasses 1 million COVID-19 tests during pandemic

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FILE – In this April 23, 2020, file photo, Team Rubicon volunteer, EMT Hannah Tellier, from Boston, holds a COVID-19 test in the emergency room of the Kayenta Health Center on the Navajo reservation in Kayenta, Ariz. Across the nation, Native American tribes are working to protect their oldest members from the coronavirus. The effort is about more than protecting lives. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas residents have had more than 1 million COVID-19 tests since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state Department of Health and Environment reported Wednesday that Kansas had reached the milestone. More than 15,000 tests have been reported this week alone.

Gov. Laura Kelly in late September announced a “unified” strategy for boosting testing to help the state catch more cases early and more frequently in people without COVID-19 symptoms.

The state hired 11 contractors in mid-November, and Kelly said this week that the state had 42 free testing sites. The state health department says about one third of the state’s tests, or more than 330,000, occurred after October.

The milestone comes at nearly the same time the CDC reported that Kansas is the slowest of all 50 states in administering the vaccine.

State officials blamed the numbers on lagging reporting by those giving the shots. It’s unclear why Kansas health professionals would be slower to report than other states.

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