Sedgwick County

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A new COVID-19 health order for Sedgwick County limits public gatherings to 25 people and continues current restrictions for businesses.

The mandates are in effect Friday through Jan. 9. This latest health order from Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns replaces directives that were in effect since Nov. 13.

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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.

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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.

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On Monday, Sedgwick County’s COVID-19 dashboard reached a worrying milestone: For the first time since the pandemic began, all 208 of the county’s ICU beds were full, if only momentarily.

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Voters re-elected two commissioners in Sedgwick County, but it’s not clear if one of them will actually serve a second term.

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Sedgwick County commissioners formally asked their colleague Michael O’Donnell to resign immediately due to his actions involving a negative campaign video last year.

Commissioners adopted a resolution Wednesday that censures O’Donnell and calls for him to decline a second term representing the 2nd District should he win re-election next week.

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The attorney for Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell says a civil lawsuit filed against O’Donnell and two other elected officials is frivolous and won’t be successful in court.

Mark Schoenhofer contends in a court filing that Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple filed the lawsuit with the main objective of impacting the results of the Sedgwick County Commission 2nd District election.

O’Donnell, a Republican, is seeking a second term representing the 2nd District. His opponent is Democrat Sarah Lopez.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has reached the highest levels of Sedgwick County government.

County Manager Tom Stolz and at least three other county employees are dealing with coronavirus infections. Several other employees are in quarantine as a precaution.

Stolz says he tested positive on Monday, Sept. 21, and immediately went into isolation at home. He says he was feeling good for most of last week, but by Friday was experiencing some of the common COVID-19 symptoms.

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Voter registrations are up in Sedgwick County, with six weeks to go until Election Day.

The Sedgwick County Election Office says more than 312,000 people are registered to vote in the general election. That’s up about 8,000 since the August primary, and about 18,000 since 2016, the last presidential election.

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Sedgwick County plans to set up a “mega voting site” at Intrust Bank Arena for early voting in the November general election.

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