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Sedgwick County Commission waiting to hear from health officer on mask guidance

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County Manager Tom Stolz addressed COVID-19 on Wednesday during the commission meeting. Stolz said he spoke with health officer Dr. Garold Minns.

Stoltz said Minns is processing information provided by the commission on Tuesday. Minns told Stolz that he will consult with other physicians in the community and keep an eye on COVID-19 numbers.

Stolz said Minns would put out guidance for the community in the next several days.


WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – Could masks in Wichita come back? The Sedgwick County health officer said yes, but not everyone is on board.

In the Sedgwick County staff meeting Tuesday, health officer Dr. Minns said we need at least a strong recommendation for all people to begin wearing masks again. Some commissioners have mixed opinions about returning mask requirements to the community and schools.

It was a call to action. Dr. Minns said more needs to be done as the 14-day positivity rate of COVID-19 cases tops 8%.

“In order to get the rate down, get this COVID thing under control, there needs to be strong recommendation at the very least,” said Dr. Minns.

Dr. Minns said as soon as the CDC gave the okay for vaccinated people to stop wearing masks, everyone in the county vaccinated or not took off their masks.

“To me, the mask issue is either all or nothing. That is the only way you can have a mask policy because there is no visible way to identify who is vaccinated and who is not,” said Minns.

Dr. Minns said he would be working on a possible health order to be discussed and potentially voted on by commissioners on Wednesday.

Commissioner Jim Howell said he’s not sure a mandate is the best course of action.

“If we don’t trust to make the best choice for themselves and we want to essentially treat everyone like they are not vaccinated,” Howell said. “I think we lose the incentive that is obviously a natural incentive to live their life freely and return to normal.”

Commissioner Sarah Lopez said a mask order might be necessary with the spread of the delta variant in Sedgwick County.

“With delta, that has changed the way this is hurting our community, and we have to be able to adapt to that, and if that means we need to wear masks again to slow this down, then I think we need to try to do that,” said Lopez.

WATCH | Sedgwick County Staff Meeting for August 3, 2021

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