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First state hospital worker dies from COVID-19 – Pittsburg Morning Solar

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A staffer at Larned State Hospital died last week from COVID-19, state officials reported Monday, making them the first worker at a state health facility to succumb to the virus.

The worker, who was not publicly identified, died Oct. 15 from the virus. The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services said they had not been 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 for COVID-19 symptoms since March and has also been taking the temperature of residents twice daily.

Larned is the largest psychiatric facility in the state, with the capacity to treat upwards of 450 residents.

While the death is the first at the state’s four hospitals, three employees at state correctional facilities have died since the pandemic began in March. Five inmates have also died from the virus, including one at Larned’s mental health facility.

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