Kansas has 1st prison virus death; meatpacking cases up

State health director says number of influenza-like illnesses is 'dropping like a rock' statewide. Increased testing may show more positive cases, but hospitalizations are down.

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April 28, 2020 - 10:23 AM

Dr. Lee Norman of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas has reported its first death in a prison coronavirus outbreak and saw the number of positive cases in six meatpacking plants rise to 378 as the state works to reopen its economy. 

Dr. Lee Norman, the state’s health director, said most of the infected meat packing workers were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. None have died and at most one is hospitalized. Norman also said the number of influenza-like illnesses reported statewide was “dropping like a rock.” 

As of Monday, the number of COVID-19 deaths rose by two to 120, and the number of positive cases increased by 154 to 3,328. But Norman said hospitalizations are dropping and that the rise in the number of positive cases is largely the result of the state trying to boost its lowest-in-the nation testing rate.

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