TOPEKA (AP) — Kansas residents will be able to get medicine without an in-person visit to the doctor during the coronavirus crisis under a new executive order that Gov. Laura Kelly announced Sunday.
Kelly, a Democrat, announced two new orders aimed at temporarily expanding health care access. She said in a statement that the orders “will make sure Kansas families can access needed care and supplies until we have weathered this storm.”
Fifty-five cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, are now confirmed in Kansas. They include two deaths. One was announced in Johnson County on Saturday. The state's first death from the virus, a Kansas City-area nursing home resident in Wyandotte County, was reported March 12.
One of Kelly's new orders allows doctors to prescribe medicine without an in-person visit, including out-of-state doctors.
“Expanding the use of telemedicine for nonemergency-related assessments like routine checkups and prescribing medication frees up additional time, resources and physical space in our hospitals and clinics," Kelly said.
The second order eases motor carrier rules and regulations such as weight restrictions. Kelly said the goal is to allow for quicker delivery of resources to address the pandemic.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
On Saturday, residents in the Kansas City area, including those in Wyandotte and Johnson counties in northeastern Kansas, were told they would be under a stay-at-home order starting Tuesday for anything other than "essential needs." Nearby Leavenworth County imposed a similar order Sunday. Essential needs include child care, health care, grocery stores, pharmacies and delivery, carry-out and drive-thru services from restaurants.
The St. Louis area in Missouri and the states of Illinois, New York and California have also implemented stay-at-home orders.