KDHE confirms 2nd case of UK variant of COVID-19 in Kansas

    Kansas Department of Health and Environment secretary Lee Norman says during a recording of the Kansas Reflector podcast that he would prefer mask mandates to curtail the spread of COVID-19. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
    Kansas Department of Health and Environment secretary Lee Norman says the second case in Kansas of the UK variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Sedgwick County. The first was identified in Ellis County. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

    TOPEKA — State health department officials said laboratory testing confirmed a resident of Sedgwick County to be the second person with the UK variant of COVID-19 in Kansas.

    Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said Monday the first known case of the variant referred to as B.1.1.7 was identified earlier this month in Ellis County.

    “This finding does not change our public health recommendations. We continue to encourage people to take the appropriate precautions,” he said.

    Confirmation of the variant involved whole genome sequencing at laboratories operated by KDHE. The health agency said personal information about the second case won’t be released.

    In addition to wearing multiple layers of masks covering the nose and mounth, KDHE recommended Kansans follow isolation and quarantine recommendations, practice physical distancing, good hygiene and to get the vaccination.

    “In addition to following these healthy behaviors, this finding also shows the importance of getting tested for COVID-19,” said Adrienne Byrne, health director in Sedgwick County.

    Testing is available and free for all Kansans. To find a location near you, visit: www.gogettested.com/kansas.

    Since March, 44 of 105 counties in Kansas have reported more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19. The No. 1 county in terms of coronavirus is Sedgwick County, which has affirmed more than 52,600 cases. The most recent summary from KDHE showed that Kansas has experienced at least 287,500 cases, 8,900 hospitalizations and 4,406 deaths linked to the pandemic.