- Associated Press - Sunday, May 3, 2020

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab wants to recruit people as young as 16 to volunteer as poll workers in the November election because he is concerned about a second wave of coronavirus infections that could hit in the fall.

Schwab told The Topeka Capital-Journal that young people are generally less likely than older workers to become ill with COVID-19 and are more comfortable with technology needed to check voters.

While he expects the rate of confirmed new cases to drop in time for the August primary, Schwab said he is concerned that a second wave of the virus could hit the state around the time of the November general election.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

County clerks are being urged to send mail-in ballots to every registered voter in an effort to reduce lines at polling sites. The costs of increased mail-in ballots will be covered by federal aid, Schwab said, and other funds will be used to buy gloves, masks and sanitizer for poll workers.



INFECTION NUMBERS

The state health department on Sunday reported 5,030 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a 6% increase over the 4,746 reported Saturday. A total of 134 people have died, an increase of three from Saturday. The actual number of infections is thought to be higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

A major portion of the 284 new cases were in Leavenworth County, where the number jumped by 112, or 29%, to 498. The county is home to the Lansing Correctional Facility, where an outbreak forced the state to quarantine the entire prison.

The number of cases continued to grow in four counties with major meat-packing plants, Finney, Ford, Seward and Lyon, though not as quickly as in recent days. The state reported 62 new cases in those counties, giving them 2,067, or 41% of all Kansas cases, although they only comprise 4.3% of the state’s population.

COURT OPERATIONS

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert issued six new administrative orders concerning the operation of the state’s court system as Kansas begins to gradually reopen.

Luckert extended deadlines, time standards and other speedy trial provisions in municipal courts that have been closed by the coronavirus until the courts can reopen and reasonably place cases on their calendars.

She also authorized the use of telephone or visual communication in court proceedings, as long as they follow the U.S. and Kansas Constitutions.

Another order acknowledges that local officials may impose more stringent standards than those issued by Gov. Laura Kelly.

KANSAS STATE TO REOPEN, FURLOUGH WORKERS

Kansas State University officials said they plan to reopen the campus to classes in the fall but that the plan depends on the spread of the coronavirus.

Provost Chuck Taber said the university likely would still enact social distancing measures, and that classes and activities could be a mix of online and in-person operations in the fall, The Manhattan Mercury reported.

Kansas State president Richard Myer said the university’s provisional decision to reopen will depend on such things as whether the state and Riley County keep confirmed virus cases low or reduce them.

The university also announced Saturday it will furlough 349 employees starting May 16. The furloughs will primarily affect auxiliary support units, rather than academic or infrastructure units.

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