Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard announced today that one staff member at Larned State Hospital (LSH) died on Wednesday, October 15, due to complications from COVID-19. This is the first staff member death at any of the four state hospitals related to the virus.

“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,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “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 staff member had more than 3 years of dedicated service to LSH and the State of Kansas. The staff member has not been on campus for several weeks and did not have contact with patients or residents. To protect their identity, no further information will be released.

“This is a sad time for our agency and for the dedicated staff at Larned State Hospital, a day we all hoped would never come,” Secretary Howard said. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the family we know is struggling with losing their loved one and our other hospital staffers mourning a co-worker.”

The State of Kansas Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has guidance consultants available to all staff members who may need additional support in dealing with this loss. EAP offers confidential help and support 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, at no cost to employees and their immediate family.

The hospital began screening all staff on March 27, 2020, monitoring temperatures upon entry into the facility and has been taking patient and resident temperatures twice a day since then.

LSH in Pawnee County is a psychiatric hospital operated by KDADS. It is the largest psychiatric facility in the state of Kansas with more than 700 employees. The hospital has three distinct programs, the Sexual Predator Treatment Program (SPTP), the State Security Program (SSP), and the PSP. The PSP is accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC) and certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).