masks

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

FREDONIA, Kansas — Nick Baldetti resigned as director of the Reno County Health Department in July.

He left to head an effort to establish a school of health at McPherson College. It was a good opportunity, Baldetti said, but he likely would have stayed to see the department through the pandemic if not for the 80-hour work weeks, the hostile political environment and the threats to his family.

At least 73 Kansas counties now require masks. The true number could be higher as the dust settles on a midnight deadline for each county to decide.

That’s a sharp increase since the summer, when all but 25 of the state’s 105 counties rejected Gov. Laura Kelly’s statewide mask rules.

In Kansas counties that adopted mask rules last summer, the spread of COVID-19 slowed, new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

The study by federal and state epidemiologists suggests that if more counties follow suit, it could help stem a disastrous groundswell that has hospitals in Kansas and across the Midwest reeling.

Nadya Faul / KMUW/File photo

The city of Wichita said it will work with Sedgwick County to enforce the county’s new public health order.

The order passed last week tightens restrictions on certain businesses and mass gatherings, and it requires masks in most public spaces. It also lays out possible penalties for violations, the first time the county has adopted enforcement measures.

Fernando Salazar / Wichita Journalism Collaborative

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is again pressing a statewide mask requirement to tame a coronavirus surge that has filled the state’s intensive care beds and left at least one major hospital caring for patients in hallways.

Beth Golay / KMUW/File photo

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple says the city will take action against businesses that openly defy a new county health order meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Kansas News Service/File photo

TOPEKA — Kansas on Monday reported another record seven-day spike in coronavirus cases, pushing the state past 100,000 for the pandemic as officials wrestled with getting more residents to wear masks.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Wichita’s mask requirement has been extended only until Oct. 21 — though it could end sooner than that.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Better hang on to those face masks: Sedgwick County says its mandatory mask order will continue through at least Oct. 21.

cdc.gov

TOPEKA — Kansas no longer has any counties free of reported coronavirus cases, with the last two, sparsely populated ones confirming their first as local schools were preparing to reopen.

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