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UK Variant of COVID-19 found in two Ft. Hays students



TOPEKA, Kan. – Officials are investigating a case of COVID-19 at Fort Hays University they believe to be the UK variant.

Governor Laura Kelly says there are 106 new COVID-19 related deaths in the state since the KDHE’s Monday update and 1,934 new positive cases. She said this brings the state total up to 4,303 deaths, 284,894 positive cases and 8,840 hospitalizations.

According to Gov. Kelly, 25 new providers have enrolled in the state’s FindMyVaccine tool, which brings the total amount of vaccine providers up to 107. She also said the new retail connections for the vaccine are helping to complete the vaccination of those in senior living facilities.

Gov. Kelly said Kansas expects to receive 18,525 prime doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the coming week and 18,525 booster doses. She said the state will also get 27,800 prime doses of the Moderna vaccine as well as 17,800 booster doses. She said this means the state should receive a total of 82,650 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which is 2,000 more than in the previous week.

Gov. Kelly said she has spoken to President Biden’s COVID-19 team, which has assured her Kansas should receive around 90,000 doses in the coming weeks. She said she will continue to urge them to send more doses and to sign a new stimulus package that will help Kansas businesses.

Gov. Kelly wanted to remind Kansas small businesses that they are still eligible to submit applications for PPP loans. She said around 54,000 small businesses in Kansas received a total of $5 billion in 2020. She said those that did receive money in the first round of PPP loans are still eligible to apply for more funding.

According to the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Dr. Lee Norman, says the first variant of COVID-19 was found in a student-athlete at Fort Hays State University through routine testing. He said the morning after the variant was found, the KDHE sent a strike testing team to the campus to conduct mass testing. He said of the 196 tests, only one other person was found to be positive with COVID-19 and it is now being tested to see if it is the United Kingdom variant of the virus.

A spokesperson for Fort Hays State University said they spoke with the Ellis County health department and determined the new case had no close contact with the student-athlete with the UK variant.