Updated 8:03 p.m. May 13, 2020, with additional information about COVID-19 cases in Leavenworth County
A second staff member from the Lansing Correctional Facility has died as a result of complications from COVID-19, the Kansas Department of Corrections reported.
The employee’s name has not been released. A KDOC news release identified the staff member as a man who was over the age of 50. He had nearly 20 years of experience with the state prison system.
He served in various roles. His most recent position was corrections supervisor I.
He died Tuesday, according to a news release from the KDOC.
Another employee at LCF died Monday due to complications from COVID-19.
"This has been an extremely difficult week for our agency and staff," KDOC Secretary Jeff Zmuda said in a news release.
He said KDOC officials extend their "condolences to the family, friends and coworkers" of the second LCF employee who died this week due to complications from COVID-19.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 88 employees from LCF have tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak. Of those, 49 have been able to return to work, according to a KDOC website.
"This virus has shaken our state to its core," Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news release. "Our corrections personnel have been invaluable during this pandemic."
The Kansas Department of Corrections reported Wednesday afternoon that 754 inmates at LCF have tested positive for the virus. Of those, 645 have been asymptomatic, which means they have shown no sign of illness. Seventy-six inmates at LCF have recovered from COVID-19 since the outbreak began.
Three LCF inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
The Leavenworth County Health Department reported Wednesday afternoon that a total 950 people in the county have tested positive for the coronavirus. That number includes LCF inmates who have tested positive for the virus as well as 42 cases among inmates and staff at the Grossman Center halfway house in Leavenworth.
Excluding LCF inmates and the cases at the Grossman Center, there have been 169 of what the Health Department refers to as community cases of COVID-19 in Leavenworth County. Of those, 73 are considered active.
During a meeting Wednesday, Leavenworth County commissioners passed a resolution to extend a declaration of a state of local public health emergency for 60 days.
The initial declaration for the county was made in March.
Chuck Magaha, director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management, said the declaration was scheduled to expire later this week. The extension will last through July 13.
"This would just be an extension of the original resolution," he said.
Commissioner Mike Stieben suggested extending the declaration only 30 days. He noted the governor’s plan for gradually easing restrictions related to COVID-19 could be completed as early as June 15.
Stieben also suggested adding a clause to the extension of the declaration requiring any future county stay-at-home order to be brought before the commissioners.
The county health officer, Jamie Miller, issued a stay-at-home order in March. This eventually was replaced by a statewide stay-at-home order issued by Kelly.
The statewide stay-at-home order has expired. The state is now in the first phase of the governor’s three-phase plan to gradually ease restrictions. The second phase could begin as early as Monday.
Senior County Counselor David Van Parys said a 60-day extension of the declaration of a state of local health emergency does not adversely affect the county and does not set any parameters for restrictions.
"You can certainly rescind that declaration at any time," he said.
County Administrator Mark Loughry said the extension of the emergency declaration will allow the county government to take advantage of any federal assistance that might be available.
Loughry said it did not matter whether the declaration was extended for 30 days or 60 days. But he said a 30-day extension would require the matter be brought before the commissioners twice as often.
Loughry said he is not anticipating any additional stay-at-home orders from the county health officer unless things take a dramatic change for the worse.
Commissioners unanimously approved the 60-day extension of the declaration.