Governor Laura Kelly Announces Contracts to Support COVID-19 Unified Testing Strategy


Robust testing strategy, wearing masks, social distancing, and limited mass gatherings key to keeping economy open, Kansans safe

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TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that 11 contracts have been awarded in conjunction with the Kansas COVID-19 Unified Testing Strategy supported with SPARK funding.

“Kansas is at a critical point with COVID-19,” Governor Kelly said. “Our communities are continuing to experience a significant amount of cases. Until a vaccine is widely available, one of the most important strategies to protect Kansans and ensure a promising economy is to increase testing.”

“When combined with wearing face masks, extensive testing – along with isolating those who are positive and quarantining close contacts — poses the most probable fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as we head into the winter months,” according to Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The Kansas Unified Testing Strategy will allow for broader routine screening to stop community spread of the virus and will ensure coordination between public and private testing efforts, including surveillance testing. The strategy includes sourcing the testing supplies and lab capacity, identifying appropriate populations to test, getting the samples and transporting them to the lab, processing and sharing the results, and ensuring that those who test positive are able to isolate.

Each of the 11 contractors will contribute to the overall strategy through implementing specific portions of the strategic plan and testing higher risk populations. Each entity will be responsible for testing in specific populations and counties, beginning next week.

Contracts have been awarded to:

  • 4M
  • Clinical Reference Lab
  • Freestate Logistics
  • MAWD
  • Medevac
  • NicUSA
  • Quest
  • Sinochips
  • University of Kansas Health System
  • WellHealth
  • Wichita State University
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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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