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Crawford County shifts to COVID-19 ‘endemic’ response


PITTSBURG, Kan. — The Crawford County Health Department on Tuesday announced that it will follow state-level officials and agencies in transitioning from a “pandemic” to an “endemic” response to COVID-19. 

“On Thursday, March 31, 2022 Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced they will shift to the next chapter of COVID-19, pivoting from emergency pandemic response to endemic and a new normal,” the county health department said in a press release. 

“The Crawford County Health Department has discontinued the contract positions that were hired during the height of the pandemic for COVID-19 disease investigations and contact tracing,” according to the release. 

“Moving forward, the Crawford County Health Department will fulfill its mission to prevent disease, promote health, and protect the public as well as manage COVID-19 similarly to other recurring state reportable diseases. The Crawford County Health Department will work with other state and local partners to ensure Crawford County residents remain safe, healthy, and be prepared for potential issues in the future. The CCHD will continue to offer COVID-19 testing and vaccines.” 

In making last week’s announcement, both Gov. Kelly and KDHE Secretary Janet Stanek commented on the shift “from emergency pandemic response to endemic normalcy” at the state level. 

"Kansas is continuing the transition to a new phase of understanding and living with COVID-19,” Kelly said. “We know the pandemic is not over, however we now have the tools and knowledge obtained over the past two years to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus. We are normalizing our COVID-19 response and incorporating these lessons into our larger efforts at improving health outcomes for all Kansans, which includes work on multiple diseases and an awareness of differing risk factors.” 

In the state’s “new normal,” state health officials “will continue to ensure that Kansans have equitable access to life-saving vaccines, tests, and treatments,” Stanek said. 

“This shift does not mean that COVID is over, but rather we are working to manage the disease in a way that allows us to maintain a more normal life that is once again filled with friends, families and other loved ones,” she said. 

Last week’s announcement also noted that “KDHE will remain prepared to ramp up capacity to quickly respond to a surge and keep Kansans safe should the need arise.”