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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly cleared to return after doctors say COVID-19 test was inaccurate

By: - January 12, 2023 6:01 pm
Gov. Laura Kelly

Gov. Laura Kelly speaks Monday at her inauguration at the Statehouse in Topeka. Kelly tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, but that result is now believed to be inaccurate. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly’s office says she doesn’t have COVID-19 after all.

The office issued a statement Thursday saying her physician and state health officials believe an initial test earlier this week produced a “false positive” result. Her subsequent tests have been negative, the statement said.

The governor appeared at a series of events leading up to and including her inauguration Monday. Shortly after a news conference Tuesday morning, where she held her grandbaby, the governor announced she had tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, she was experiencing cold-like symptoms.

Her office said she would resume in-person work on Friday. The State of the State speech was rescheduled for Jan. 24.

“After receiving a positive result on a COVID test, Governor Kelly followed all protocols by self-isolating at home while continuing to work,” said Joan Duwve, state health officer at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “With the increased time indoors this winter, anytime Kansans are not feeling well they should follow the infection prevention protocols, get tested for respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 or influenza, and stay home until they are no longer experiencing symptoms.”

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 2021 and 2022 Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He is a lifelong Kansan.

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