A staffer at Larned State Hospital died last week from COVID-19, state officials reported Monday, making that person the first worker at a state health facility to die from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The worker, who wasn’t publicly identified, died Oct. 15. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said the coronavirus hadn’t been reported on the hospital campus, located in south-central Kansas, in several weeks.
There was no contact with patients or other staff members, KDADS said.
Gov. Laura Kelly expressed condolences at the death of the employee, who had been employed at Larned for three years.
"I was saddened to learn of this news, and I extend my condolences to both the family and the rest of the hospital staff as they cope with this tragic loss," Kelly said in a statement. "Our civil servants have worked selflessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of those under their care. My administration will continue to support them by leveraging the resources and equipment needed to keep workers safe and limit the spread of the virus in high-risk areas."
The state has been screening all those entering Larned State Hospital for COVID-19 symptoms since March and has also been taking the temperature of residents twice daily.
Larned State Hospital is the largest psychiatric facility in the state, with the capacity to treat upwards of 450 residents.
While the death is the first at any of the state’s four hospitals, three employees at state correctional facilities have died since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. Five inmates have also died, including one at Larned’s mental health facility.