Sedgwick County

Fernando Salazar, File Photo

Public health officials in three Kansas counties say a new state law is hurting their efforts to trace the contacts of people infected with COVID-19 by making it easier for them to refuse to cooperate.

Public health departments often rely on employers to find out who has been in close contact with those infected, but the coronavirus law that was approved in June says "third parties," such as employers and event hosts, must get consent from those who tested positive for COVID-19 and close contacts in order to share their information to public health agencies.

Sedgwick County

Sedgwick County plans to install more than a dozen ballot drop boxes ahead of the November general election.

The drop boxes will be placed strategically in cities around Sedgwick County as a convenient option for voters to return their advance mail ballot.

Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman says the boxes are part of COVID-19-related safety precautions for elections. She says the boxes will also help ease voter concerns about postmarks and an overwhelmed postal service.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Voters picked Michael O’Donnell as the winner of the Republican primary for Sedgwick County Commission’s 2nd District.

File / U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Wikipedia

The Sedgwick County Health Department is no longer doing COVID-19 contact tracing investigations.


Two seats are up for election on the Sedgwick County Commission this year, and both incumbents face primary challenges.

In the 2nd District, Commissioner Michael O’Donnell has two Republican opponents: Cindy Miles and Kathleen Garrison.

Fernando Salazar / Wichita Journalism Collaborative

The Sedgwick County Commission has reinstated part of an emergency public health order, two days after removing it.

Sedgwick County, YouTube

A new public health order in Sedgwick County shuts down bars and nightclubs, and further limits the size of gatherings.

Sedgwick County’s health officer Dr. Garold Minns issued the restrictions Wednesday in response to a surge of coronavirus infections. The emergency public health order he signed replaces the one issued on July 9.

Minns says the mandatory mask policy is working, but now it’s time to pull back on community activity.

Sedgwick County’s budget proposal for 2021 addresses staffing needs in several departments while keeping funding flat in most other areas.

County Manager Tom Stolz released the recommended budget Wednesday at the county commission meeting. Budgets for Sedgwick County government and Fire District 1 total about $458 million, about the same as last year.

Stolz said the spending plan takes into account that the county is still in COVID-19 pandemic response mode.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

Sedgwick County’s top health official has issued a mandatory face mask order, the latest effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

KMUW/File photo

Sedgwick County is having trouble getting people to participate in a countywide COVID-19 study.

County health officials are trying to recruit 1,400 randomly selected people to be tested for COVID-19. The test results would help determine the spread of the coronavirus in the community.