WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – On Sunday, the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners held a special meeting regarding the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and test kits in Sedgwick County amongst other things.
“We have lots of staff trying to figure out ways to get that to Sedgwick County and of course to our state. It’s not just a local problem. It’s a problem really all across the Midwest. We focus on our problems here in Sedgwick County. We actually staff that’s specifically looking for hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, gowns if necessary, some professions need to have the whole gown. On top of that, we have had a huge need for testing, and we would like to set up a drive-through test center, but we can’t do that without test kits, so obviously, it’s one of our biggest needs,” said County Commissioner Jim Howell.
During the meeting, county commissioners addressed what other counties are doing amid COVID-19.
“We’re looking at what Johnson County did and in terms of their recent directive into their community on their stay at home order, and it has 25 exemptions to that, which in my opinion is comforting because it does allow for things that people have to do. Take care of their children, take care of their parents, and go to the grocery store and go to the pharmacy and all of the things that are really very, very important. It does shut down those non-essential things, but that’s what Johnson County is doing that starts tomorrow,” said Howell.
Howell says county commissioners are trying to get more testing kits to Sedgwick County in order to tests more people for the virus.
“We have a lack of personal protective equipment and that is a major issue for this community. The other major part of this we just have a lack of testing capability, so trying to find the tests so we can find out what the status of our community. We only have a few tests right now. Other communities, especially, overseas implemented random testing, but we don’t have the test kits here to do that. So that’s a real problem. We’re testing very few people. There are really only three classes that they’ll test. If they’re healthcare workers that are already involved in the hospitals and they come down with some type of symptoms. If they are over age 60 and they have all of the symptoms of COVID-19. If they are, I believe if they were emergency personnel potentially would be tested,” said Howell.
He also said they are looking at what works and doesn’t work for other cities around the country.
“We are looking at cities all across the United States to find out what they are doing. We have a lot of cities to compare ourselves with. So, there’s a lot of really good data out there and just trying to figure out what’s working what’s not working, you know, the strategies that are being employed in those different locations and what the people’s response is. Those are the things we are looking at really closely,” said Howell.
The meeting is not open to the public due to the facilities being closed because of COVID-19 precautions.