Kansas tops 20,000 coronavirus cases after worst-ever spike

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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, left, confers with Clay Britton, her chief attorney, before a meeting with legislative leaders about an executive order she issued to require people to wear masks in public, Thursday, July 2, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Kelly says she’s worried that if the state doesn’t reverse a recent surge in reported coronavirus cases, the state won’t be able to reopen K-12 schools in August. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas on Monday had its worst week-long spike in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began after reporting another 1,447 cases over three days to bring the total to more than 20,000.

The state Department of Health and Environment said that 20,058 novel coronavirus cases have been reported since early March, an increase of 7.8% from Friday. The department also reported four additional COVID-19-related deaths to bring the total to 284, though Johns Hopkins University reported a total of 297 deaths.

Kansas reported an average of 451 new coronavirus cases a day during the seven-day period ending Monday. That figure has climbed each of the seven times the health department has reported new data starting on June 29, when the seven-day average for new daily cases was 283. The figure Monday was 59% higher.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly issued a statewide order July 2 directing people to wear masks in public and at their workplaces. But state law allows counties to opt out, and most have, exempting roughly 40% of the state’s population from the mask mandate.

The continued spike in coronavirus cases comes as state officials are discussing how to reopen the state’s public K-12 schools safely next month.

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