- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2020

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Lansing Correctional Facility is the largest single source of Kansas coronavirus cases, followed by the Tyson Foods meatpacking plant near Garden City, a public health document shows.

The Kansas City Star, citing a list provided to it by Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation, reports that the document contains a detailed account of every outbreak since May 19 in Kansas.

At least 846 cases and six deaths through May 19 were traced to the Lansing prison. The Tyson plant near Garden City has seen 571 cases and one death according to the document.

Outbreaks at three Sedgwick County churches collectively infected at least 32 people and resulted in one death. A retirees coffee group in Republic County led to six cases. A keg party in Wabaunsee County was linked to five cases.

Multiple residents have died at nearly every nursing home where a COVID-19 outbreak has been identified.



On Friday, Kansas health officials reported 10,393 coronavirus cases in 89 counties, with 232 reported deaths.

The list obtained by the newspaper was attached to a May 21 email from the Kansas Health Alert Network, a messaging system used by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation provided it to the newspaper after obtaining it through a records request.

The list provides the first detailed public accounting of the pandemic impact at Kansas meatpacking plants that have been linked to at least 2,767 cases and 10 deaths.

Tyson Foods in Finney County had the biggest cluster among the Kansas plants with 517 cases and one death linked to its Finney County facility.

For the two major meatpacking plants located in Ford County, National Beef had 503 cases and four deaths while Cargill had 342 cases and no deaths.

Other Kansas meatpackers in the state included the National Beef facility in Seward County with 317 cases and no deaths and Tyson Foods facility in Emporia with 73 cases and one death linked to Tyson Foods in Emporia.

While meatpacking plants constitute the largest COVID-19 clusters in Kansas with at least 2,767 COVID-19 cases, the confidential list makes clear that Lansing Correctional Facility is the state’s single largest infection site. Correctional facilities account for at least 1,018 cases, with Lansing at the top with 846 reported cases.

Few Kansas locations have suffered more fatalities from the coronavirus than nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The list shows that Riverbend Post Acute Rehabilitation in Wyandotte County is the largest hot spot in the state, with 141 cases and 36 deaths. Brighton Gardens in Prairie Village is second, with 75 cases and 15 deaths.

Life Care Center of Burlington and Forest Creek Memory in Johnson County both have seven deaths each. Numerous other facilities have a handful of deaths.

The Legislature passed a bill on Thursday that would allow nursing homes to offer affirmative defenses in court to defeat COVID-19 lawsuits by providing protections for those facilities that followed public health directives.

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