Kelly issues statewide mask mandate
KANSAS – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly issued a new mask mandate on Wednesday set to go into effect the day before Thanksgiving, as Kansas and the rest of the country deals with surging coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Mitchell County COVID-19 cases increased to 67 active cases as of Wednesday's last report for an overall 157 cases since March. New numbers will be released at a later date. As of today, Osborne's numbers have increased to 31 active cases and Lincoln county 17 cases.
As of Thursday, Jewell county increased to 17 active cases; Republic county to 97; Smith county to 34.
Cloud county reported an additional 11 cases of the virus with 176 test results pending. The county has recorded 263 cases of COVID-19 in the past two weeks, and 477 total cases since the outbreak began. They recently issued a masks mandate for their county. Nine Cloud County residents are currently hospitalized.
As of Wednesday's last report, Saline county has increased to 492 active cases with 17 deaths and Ottawa county 35 active cases.
Kelly’s executive order will require face-coverings to be worn inside public spaces, health care facilities, in line for public transportation and outdoors where social distancing is not possible. The mandate goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Among those who are exempt from wearing a face covering are children under the age of five, people who have medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering and people who are eating and drinking at a restaurant, according to the order.
The governor’s order is her second attempt to mandate maskwearing statewide after most counties opted out of her earlier order in July.
Kelly said during a press conference Wednesday that “a one-size-fits-all approach can be difficult for some communities to navigate,” so she is giving counties a week to develop their own orders for face coverings.
The Mitchell County Commissioners will be viewing a webinar today (Friday) and discussing their options during Monday's meeting in Beloit.
USD 273 Beloit has decided with the help of the Mitchell County Health Department to go to remote learning Monday and Tuesday of next week.
"We will return to face to face learning on Monday, November 30. These are Practice Remote Learning days so all activities will continue as normal - class will just be at home as opposed to in person."
“We have reached a new stage in our fight with this virus and how we choose to respond could turn the tide for our businesses, our hospitals and our schools,” says Kelly.
The governor’s office will also conduct a public awareness campaign advocating for mask use and other coronavirus precautions as hospitals face the threat of being overwhelmed in the state.
Kansas recorded 5,853 new cases, 60 new deaths and 130 hospitalizations on Wednesday, according to state data. Metro area hospitals in the state and Kansas City area have more than 1,400 patients, compared to about 800 at the beginning of November, and some hospitals are resulting to putting COVID-19 patients in hallways and emergency rooms, reported the Kansas City Star.
The Kansas Health Institute reported that as of Oct. 15, 24 of the state's 105 counties had mask orders, and 72 had no current coronavirus restrictions.
Kansas is now at 128,594 overall COVID-19 cases since March, with 4,561 hospitalizations, and 1,326 deaths.