Laura Kelly speaks into the mic at a podium

Governor Laura Kelly announced that she will be issuing an executive order that limits gatherings to a maximum of 10 people during a press conference on Monday, March 23.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced two executive orders to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus and three new cases of the virus in Kansas in a press conference this afternoon.

The first executive order follows a new Centers for Disease Control guidance that suggests all gatherings of more than 50 people to be canceled or postponed for eight weeks. The executive order requires Kansans to adopt this guidance immediately. 

The second executive order will suspend all utility disconnects, including electric, water, gas and telecommunication, until April 15 to "provide relief to our most vulnerable Kansans during this time," Kelly said in the press conference.

“This is an essential step to further encourage social distancing and stem the spread of the virus,” Kelly said.

These executive orders come on the heels of 11 total cases of COVID-19 in Kansas. Three new positive cases of COVID-19 were discovered last night, said Lee Norman, the secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. 

These three cases were likely caused by a person who had been to a social gathering while not feeling well, Norman said in the press conference. Because of the local transmission risks, Norman urged Kansans to practice social distancing.

“This is not just a theory. This is very real,” Norman said.

Norman also said 80 to 90 people tested in a Wyandotte County nursing home came back negative, despite a positive case in the nursing home. Kansas now has 234 negative tests for COVID-19, which means the rate of positive tests is 4.7% in Kansas, Norman said. 

Kelly also announced that she will meet with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses later today to discuss how the state can best support businesses and employees while they navigate the “unprecedented challenge together.”