The pandemic has arrived at Wichita City Hall.
Mayor Brandon Whipple, the City Council, City Manager Robert Layton and other city employees are in quarantine for two weeks after council member Brandon Johnson tested positive for COVID-19.
The city said in a news release over the weekend that the people in quarantine will not be allowed to return to City Hall until about Nov. 18. It said the City Council will continue to meet but will do so remotely.
Whipple said on Facebook that he plans to get tested Monday and will “follow (council member) Johnson's example of transparency by reporting the results openly.”
“Please keep (council member) Johnson, his family, the City Council & the City of Wichita staff in your prayers.”
The city said in its news release that it was contacted by the Wichita Fire Department about city staff possibly being exposed. The department was conducting contact tracing on its own cases when it notified the city.
City Hall remains open on a limited basis. But the city said residents who need to do business there should check the city’s web page on the coronavirus for the latest information.
I reached out to Councilmember @BJohnsonICT this morning & he is in good spirits as he rests & recovers. Thankfully, he immediately recognized the symptoms, quarantined himself, took a test & alerted those he was in contact with so we too can quarantine. He also wears a mask 1/3 https://t.co/H5O1sP5f1Q
— Dr. Brandon Whipple (@BWhippleKS) November 7, 2020
Wichita joins the Sedgwick County government in experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. In late September, Sedgwick County Manager Tom Stolz and at least three other county employees tested positive for COVID-19; Commissioner Jim Howell tested positive in October. Several other county employees were placed in quarantine as a result.