Since last week, Senator Jerry Moran and Congressman Roger Marshall have been instrumental in acquiring additional testing kits for Kansans and contributing to a plan to get the economy working again amidst the current pandemic crisis. On Thursday, April 16, Moran was named to President Trump’s Economic Recovery Task Force, which recognizes widespread testing as key to recovery. At the same time, Marshall has been focusing efforts on getting needed tests to beef processing plants in Southwest Kansas in an effort to protect and keep front line workers there on the job.
According to a media release from Marshall’s office Monday, nation wide, the beef industry has already experienced a 15-percent decrease in its processing capacity due to the impacts of COVID-19. Kansas is responsible for roughly 11 percent of the nation’s beef processing,
“Knowing the devastating impacts a further decrease in beef processing would have on consumers and livestock owners, U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall last week began reaching out to representatives from each of the three companies operating beef packing plants in Southwest Kansas to offer assistance and discuss precautions the companies were already taking to protect their employees and the communities in which they operate.”
Since then, the Kansas Department of Emergency Management, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Centers for Disease Control and Genesis Family Health, a federally qualified health clinic serving southwest Kansas, along with local clinics and hospitals have contributed to a state-wide effort aimed at ensuring adequate testing and proper isolation measures are taken for those who test positive for the virus.
“We have to prioritize the health of our front-line employees to ensure that they remain on the job,” said Rep. Marshall. “To do that we must begin large-scale testing of the employees to prevent the unnecessary spread of this virus to others in the workplace. This will not be a small endeavor so it is imperative that all agencies come together to ensure the safety of the employees, their families and the communities.”
Additionally, Congressman Marshall was instrumental in securing roughly 5,000 test kits from private manufacturers, and he will continue to ensure communities have the supplies needed to test employees and their family members.
Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran have also been very influential in helping secure federal supplies for Kansas, Marshall said.
Moran working to get more tested
For the past week, Moran held a town hall discussion and took part in a news conference with The University of Kansas Health Systems to share information and answer questions about the Phase III Cares Act and the Paycheck Protection Program, and has called for widespread COVID-19 testing.
“Widespread testing is one of the most important factors in how we can safely get our lives back to normal and businesses can start to reopen,” Moran wrote in his weekly newsletter. “I have spoken directly with President Trump and a number of my colleagues in the Senate regarding testing, and I will continue to do everything I can to get more people tested in Kansas and across the country as a member of the White House Economic Recovery Task Force. For our economy to recover, we need widespread testing so Americans can feel secure in their health and safely return to work.”
Moran agreed with Dr. Stites, UKHS Chief Medical Officer, that while Kansas has fewer tests than many other states, other places with higher death and hospitalization rates are rightfully a higher priority at this time.
“This is also a testament to Kansans for their efforts to stay home, protect their neighbors and not rapidly spread this disease,” he wrote. ”However, getting more people tested in Kansas will continue to be a high priority for me. It is important for everyone to know that our health care and economy are linked in our effort to reopen the country.”