This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday the sixth case of coronavirus in the state afflicted a man who fell ill after returning from a cruise in the Caribbean and officials continue to investigate the state’s first death from the pandemic.

KDHE Secretary Lee Norman said the sixth reported COVID-19 case involved a 72-year-old Butler County man. The individual, not identified by the state, wasn’t symptomatic until several days after he returned to Kansas. He is being cared for at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.

The state agency has been working with Butler County health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify people who may have been in contact with the infected man.

"Kansans should remain vigilant," Norman said. "It’s important to live your lives, but it’s also important to take basic precautions like exercising good hygiene practices. It is up to each of us to do our part."

The latest COVID-19 case in Kansas followed reports Thursday of Kansas’ first death associated with the public health emergency.

A Wyandotte County man in his 70s, who was living at Life Care Center in Kansas City, Kan., died Wednesday after being infected with COVID-19.

He had been taken to Providence Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., for a cardiac-related health problem when hospital staff noticed he had a fever. He died within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital.

A postmortem exam confirmed the man was infected with the coronavirus, which complicated underlying health issues. At least one Providence Hospital employee has entered into self-quarantine, Norman said.

The KDHE secretary confirmed the national company, Life Care of America, that owned the skilled-nursing center where the man had lived in Kansas City, Kan., also owned the nursing home facility in Kirkland, Wash., that has been linked to 22 fatalities from COVID-19.

Officials were trying to figure out who had come into contact with the Kansas City man. So far, he is the only case in Kansas that involves local transmission of COVID-19.

"With the exception of that gentleman in a skilled-nursing facility, the cases have all been imported," Norman said.

On Thursday, Gov. Laura Kelly declared a state of emergency, which authorizes the use of state resources and personnel to assist with response and recovery operations. By law, the declaration lasts 15 days.

The Kansas House on Friday passed by 116-0 vote a resolution that would extend the state of emergency into January 2021 while giving the governor latitude to withdraw the declaration if the threat of the virus subsides. The Kansas Senate adjourned Friday without adopting the same emergency resolution.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said her chamber would continue, as of Friday, to operate as usual.

"Norman and his team are expertly working to gather facts, trends and risks," Wagle said. "Our combined goal is to ensure the safety of all Kansans, to mitigate the risks and to strategically respond to confirmed cases. Our economy coming to a complete standstill is extremely detrimental to everyone, and we must not hit the panic button. However, Kansan’s health will not be sacrificed to avoid economic hardship."

One option would be for the 2020 Legislature to swiftly reach agreement in the House and Senate on a state government budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 and postpone other legislative work.

Sen. Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said conservatives in the Truth Caucus would prefer budget negotiators to work throughout the weekend on a spending blueprint that could be voted on Monday in the Senate and House.

"The Kansas House and Senate must act quickly to adopt a budget to keep government working to address the current COVID-19 crisis," he said.

The Kansas Department of Corrections said no visitors would be allowed to state prisons as a precaution to staff and inmates.

The governor’s declaration of emergency triggered a state statute that prohibits price gouging. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said his office was prepared to enforce the anti-profiteering law.

The law bans unjust price increases for goods and services in high demand, including food items, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, medical supplies and lodging. Prices are restricted from rising 25% above March 11 levels.

"The Kansas anti-profiteering statute is rarely invoked but is designed to prevent opportunistic greed from overcoming the public need for necessary virus-response products and services during this time of emergency," Schmidt said. "We take the law’s requirements seriously and will diligently investigate complaints and vigorously prosecute any violations."

The law was enacted in response to retail activity that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Kelly said new rules limiting access to the Kansas Capitol building would be imposed Monday. Lawmakers, political staff and people engaged in legislative business would continue to have access to the Statehouse, but visitors would be prohibited. Kansans may listen to House and Senate proceedings by visiting

All public events at the Capitol have been postponed until further notice, she said. Groups reserving space in the Statehouse would have deposits refunded and public tours must be suspended. The plan calls for closing the Statehouse on Saturdays.

"This limitation of access is merely a precautionary measure as we work to mitigate the spread of the virus," the governor said.

This developing story will be updated as information becomes available. Capital-Journal reporter India Yarborough contributed to this report.