WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Two new members joined the Wichita City Council on Tuesday.

Councilmembers Mike Hoheisel and Maggie Ballard were sworn in during a ceremony Monday night. Johnson was also sworn in for a second term.

You can watch the meeting here on the city’s Youtube page.

The first item on the agenda was a selection of the vice mayor. Councilmember Bryan Frye nominated councilmember Becky Tuttle. Mayor Brandon Whipple seconded the motion, which the council unanimously approved. Tuttle was sworn in after the vote.

In the public agenda, members heard from Sedgwick County health officer Dr. Garold Minns, Dr. Sam Antonios, chief clinical officer for Ascension Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals, and Dr. Lowell D. Ebersole, Wesley Healthcare, chief medical officer.

Dr. Minns said that there were 6,700 COVID-19 cases reported in the county last week, which doesn’t include at-home tests. Minns told the council it was the highest since the pandemic started. He said omicron, which is more contagious, coupled with holiday gatherings likely contributed to the high number of cases. He said the vaccine numbers have been stagnant.

Dr. Antonios said 140 patients are hospitalized with COVID in Via Christi. Dr. Ebersol said 160 are hospitalized with COVID in Wesley. Both hospital leaders also told members a number of staff members were out due to COVID.

City council members also vote 7-0 to approve more funding for the North Junction project. The estimated cost of the project is now $36,319,409. The initial estimate was $30,220,000. The city and county are required to put in a 25% local match. Wichita’s share would be $762,000 more. The city’s share after the bidding is $4,539,926.