News Briefs

Kansas governor tests positive for COVID-19, experiencing minor symptoms

By: - January 10, 2023 3:05 pm

Gov. Laura Kelly tests positive for Covid-19 Tuesday morning, with mild symptoms. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA —  Gov. Laura Kelly has tested positive for COVID-19 just two days into the legislative session. 

Kelly is currently self-isolating with minor symptoms after testing positive Tuesday morning, according to a news release sent out later in the day. She is fully vaccinated.

Kelly appeared at a series of events throughout the weekend, up to a Tuesday morning event in which she held a baby while signing an executive order. Events included an inaugural ball, a Monday inauguration ceremony and the Tuesday legislation signing. People who have been in close contact with the governor during these events have been informed, with attendees encouraged to test themselves for COVID-19.

“This is the first day she has experienced symptoms. She is following the guidance of public health officials to self-isolate as she continues to work,” the news release said.

Health officials have warned of rising COVID-19 rates due to the holidays, with a “trifecta” of COVID-19 cases, flu and respiratory syncytial virus on the spread. Only 57.3% of Kansans are fully vaccinated, and fewer than 12%  of Kansans have taken a COVID-19 bivalent booster, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Between Dec. 28, 2022 and Jan. 4, 2023, there were 2,842 new COVID-19 cases and 37 new COVID-19 deaths reported. KDHE data shows 9,753 COVID-19 deaths across the state since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly’s State of the State address has been pushed back to Jan. 24, though her budget will still be released Thursday, as planned. 

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Rachel Mipro
Rachel Mipro

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rachel Mipro has covered state government in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. She and her fellow team of journalists were 2022 Goldsmith Prize Semi-Finalists for their work featuring the rise of the KKK in northern Louisiana, following racially-motivated shootings in 1960. With her move to the Midwest, Rachel is now turning her focus toward issues within Kansas public policies.