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Kansas governor, Sedgwick County leaders urge counties across state to adopt health orders

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:54 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Sedgwick County leaders and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Friday addressed 105 counties across the state, urging them all to adopt a mask mandate and social-distancing restrictions. This comes as Kansas reports 84 deaths in its latest COVID-19 report. This is a record for most deaths in a single report. Following a statewide order from Kelly, Kansas counties have less than one week to adopt local mask orders before the governor’s statewide mandate goes into effect. Some question if all counties will follow the recommendations.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Pete Meitzner said Wichita’s hospitals have had patients from 23 counties. He voiced frustration that “a lot of (counties) are not taking the spread of this disease very seriously.”

Meitzner wrote a letter to those 23 counties across Kansas. In the letter to counties that include Reno, Marion, and McPherson counties, Meitzner asks county leaders to slow the spread of the virus by any means necessary.

One frustration that’s come with the added strain on local hospitals is the reluctance for people to wear masks in public in an issue Meitzner said, “is highly political for some reason.”

Earlier this week, Reno County Commissioner Mark Steffen disregarded a mask mandate.

“I call it the China virus. We know a lot about the virus now. It conveys an erroneous narrative of masks and how efficacious they are, and at the end of the day, they really don’t change anything,” Steffen said.

Counties across Kansas have until next Wednesday (Nov. 25) to adopt a plan, or they must abide by the statewide rules.

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