ICYMI: New mask mandate in Ellis County caps off hectic COVID week in Kansas

BY JUSTIN SABATA

It first began with yet another rise of COVID cases across the country that did not spare the state of Kansas. Just recently, according to KAKE.com, Kansas has seen over 7,500 new cases and 46 deaths due to COVID since last Friday. These trends have not been unusual in the past month, as similar spikes of 5,000 and 6,000 new cases have been reported. 

As a result of the steep rise in new cases, Gov. Laura Kelly announced a statewide mask mandate earlier last week. The executive order requires Kansas citizens to wear a face-covering when in public buildings and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

Although counties have the option whether to adopt this requirement or design their own, the Ellis County Commission decided to allow the mandate without opposition. As decided during a special commissioner’s meeting on Monday, the ordinance took effect early Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. 

Also on Wednesday, the Ellis County Health Department announced 474 active COVID cases. The weekly average percent-of-positives rate decreased by 2.5% since Monday and currently stands at 33.9%. Three people have passed away due to the virus since Monday, and hospitalizations remain at 15. The overall percent-of-positives rate has jumped 0.2% in two days (16.7%).

The ECHD will be providing free drive-thru COVID testing at Big Creek Crossing Mall on Friday. According to a post on the ECHD Facebook page, tests will be given from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and promises a turnaround time of 3 to 5 days. The department encourages residents to notify any recent close contacts and to isolate while awaiting results.

On Tuesday, Fort Hays State University released their latest virus information on their COVID-19 Dashboard. According to the report, from November 14 to November 20, 13 of 39 tests given at the Student Health Center returned positive and 11 of the 81 surveillance tests conducted by FHSU during the same time also had positive results. Seven students were in on-campus quarantine last week with four others in off-campus isolation.  

Below are links to online COVID-19 resources:

Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Kansas Department of Health of Environment COVID-19 Response: https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/
Mental Health and COVID-19 Information and Resources: https://mhanational.org/covid19
National Federation of Families: https://www.ffcmh.org/covid-19-resources-for-parents
Kansas Department of Labor COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits: https://www.dol.ks.gov/ui-faqs/covid19-unemployment-benefits

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