Sedgwick County

Fernando Salazar

Sedgwick County is using three strategies for COVID-19 testing to get a better sense of disease spread in the community.

The county opened up its free testing to people who don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms, began a random testing program and created a mobile testing unit to reach vulnerable populations.

Primaries will be held in August for both seats on the Sedgwick County Commission up for election this year.

Voters will decide Republican primaries on Aug. 4 and contested races in November.

Current commissioners Michael O’Donnell and David Dennis are running for second terms. The two Republicans were both elected in 2016.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

Sedgwick County is leaving the next COVID-19 recovery steps up to businesses and residents.

County commissioners decided Wednesday not to impose any additional restrictions on how and when the local economy continues to reopen.

Instead, the county is recommending — but not requiring — that the guidelines outlined in the state’s phased reopening plan continue.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

The Sedgwick County Zoo reopens to the public Thursday with new COVID-19-related safety precautions.

The zoo closed to visitors March 14 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the community.

Members were the first to return during a soft opening this week. Zoo executive director Jeff Ettling says the staff has been working on a phased-in reopening plan since the first day of the shutdown.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service/File photo

WICHITA, Kansas — At the start of 2020, Wichita dreamed of a $1 billion face-lift alongside the Arkansas River, complete with a new performing arts center, a new convention hall and wide green spaces.

That vision for the future in Wichita, and in other Kansas communities, has been put on hold for months or years — if not completely torn up — by COVID-19’s economic and public health impact.

Fernando Salazar, File Photo

Now that Kansas is slowly reopening, health officials are preparing for what could be a busy few months of COVID-19 investigations.

Hugo Phan / KMUW/File photo

A special military air convoy is scheduled to fly over south-central Kansas on Wednesday morning.

Two KC-135 Stratotankers and a KC-46 Pegasus tanker from McConnell Air Force Base along with the restored B-29 bomber known as “Doc” are taking part in the flight.

The team wants to honor health care workers, first responders and other essential personnel for their response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The aircraft will fly over 11 hospitals in Wichita, Derby, Newton, Andover, Garden Plain, Haysville and El Dorado. The flight begins around 10 a.m. and lasts about an hour.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Sedgwick County is not imposing any additional local restrictions or policies to Gov. Laura Kelly’s phased-in plan for reopening the community unveiled Thursday night.

The statewide stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 30 will expire Sunday, allowing most restaurants, stores and other idled businesses to reopen if they use industry-specific safety protocols. A limit on gatherings of more than 10 people remains in effect through at least May 18.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Local business leaders and health care experts are at odds over when — and how — Sedgwick County should begin to ease its coronavirus lockdown.

KMUW/File photo

Sedgwick County leaders say the COVID-19 crisis could impact the county’s budget through 2022.

The projection comes as county staff begin the process of establishing next year’s budget, fiscal year 2021, while still navigating the current challenging situation. Sedgwick County’s costs and responsibilities have grown each week since the beginning of March as the coronavirus spread throughout the community.