Governor Laura Kelly took steps Tuesday to address what she described as hundreds of thousands of calls to the state labor office by making it easier for Kansans to receive unemployment benefits as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continued to grow.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it had confirmed 428 cases Tuesday, up from 369 a day earlier, and it identified a Kansas City church conference two weeks ago as a point of exposure for multiple people. Johnson County reported a third death from the virus, pushing the state’s total to 10.

Kelly announced Kansas would temporarily waive the one-week waiting period for people to receive unemployment benefits and waive the requirement that they seek employment.

“It’s right that we are working hard on the medial challenges this virus represents, but we also must work on the economic fallout created by this disease,” Kelly told reporters.

Unemployment claims have skyrocketed from 1,800 a week at the beginning of the month to 60,000 as of Sunday. The Kansas Department of Labor has been inundated by roughly 230,000 calls each day, which the governor likened to every resident of Topeka, Lawrence and Emporia calling the agency daily.
Kelly urged people to file online, noting the department got 877,000 calls on Monday.

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