Mayor urges residents to wear masks and socially distance
Wyandotte County reported 85 new COVID-19 cases at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to the Unified Government’s COVID-19 webpage. (From UG COVID-19 webpage) COVID-19 case numbers have been increasing recently. This chart showed the 7-day rolling average of positive cases. (From UG COVID-19 webpage)
Wyandotte County reported 85 new COVID-19 cases at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to the Unified Government’s COVID-19 webpage.
There were a cumulative total 3,517 positive COVID-19 cases at 1 p.m. Saturday, compared to 3,432 at 1 p.m. Friday. There were no new deaths; the cumulative total was 88.
Mayor David Alvey discussed the rising number of COVID-19 cases during a speech on Saturday morning to the Wyandotte County Third District Democratic Breakfast group online in a Zoom meeting.
The mayor remarked that through the stay-at-home order and physically distancing a few months ago, Wyandotte County had reduced the number of COVID-19 cases from 40 a day to 11 a day. Then came a lot of pressure to reopen.
Now, however, it has been averaging about 90 new cases a day here, he said.
Mayor Alvey said it has always been his position to pay attention to the virus, to the science of the virus, and to listen to the doctors at the Unified Government Health Department.
He said the mask order currently in effect in Wyandotte County is important. Every tool they have at their disposal to fight the virus they have to use, he said.
While there have been complaints from residents about the mask order, the mask does help, he said. It stops large and some smaller droplets going from the wearer of the mask to others, he said.
Even with masks, people must maintain six feet of social distancing inside, Mayor Alvey said. He advised residents to practice spacing, avoid large gatherings and indoor spaces. He said they can get the virus down to a manageable level so it does not overwhelm hospitals.
When cases occur, the Health Department can do testing and contact tracing to isolate contacts, according to the mayor.
While everybody wants to politicize the mask-wearing issue, they need to move away from that, he said. The focus has to be on the virus itself and what they can do to stop it, he said.
He said he has been asked if Wyandotte County will be going back to the stay-at-home order, and his answer is, “only if necessary.” If people wear masks, socially distance and avoid large gatherings, they can reduce the spread of the virus, he added.
IF people pretend it is not real, the virus will spike again, he said. While it has already spiked, it would just get worse if people aren’t practicing the health guidelines.
The mayor remarked that the effect will be the same if the government enacts the stay-at-home order, or if the virus spreads so much that people choose to stay home to avoid it. The effect on the economy will be the same, he said.
“Let’s get this thing under control, then come back with a measured reopening,” he said.
A young adult in another county who thought it would be great to have a party, then hundreds of people showed up uninvited, got sick and is now saying, “the party can wait,” the mayor said. What’s going to drive whether the economy comes back is individuals making decisions to wait until later to party or hold gatherings, he added.
Mayor Alvey said the coronavirus had a big effect on the community and the UG. UG services were affected when everyone had to go home, then they were affected again when revenues dropped, he said. The UG projected a 25 percent drop in sales tax revenue in 2020 alone, estimated at $18 million lost in sales tax revenue, he said. That has had an effect on the current budget and next year’s budget, and people will see some services reduced, he said.
Mayor Alvey said the Health Department is planning to have groups of two persons go out to the community to reach neighborhoods in their efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
State Sen. Pat Pettey, D-6th Dist., asked the mayor if there were any efforts to limit the hours bars are open. That is something that was recently done in Dallas, in Lawrence, Kansas, and in other cities that are facing COVID-19 outbreaks.
Mayor Alvey said he hadn’t had that conversation yet with Dr. Allen Greiner, county health officer, and Dr. Erin Corriveau, deputy health officer, and that he always defers to them on the steps that need to be taken. They are looking at every option, he said, and hope the mask order will have an effect. He added that wearing masks has worked to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in many other places.
The mayor said he was saddened to see that some people who are against masks are saying they bought masks that do not stop the droplets. It reveals deep divisions in society, he said. If everyone could focus on the virus and what it’s doing, they could make a difference, he believes.
The mayor also discussed his task force on community relations and policing, and the CARES Act funding.
Free testing for COVID-19 is available from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday, July 20 at Oak Ridge Baptist Church, 9301 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas.
Free testing also is available from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 21, at All Saints parish, 811 Vermont Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.
Those two are pop-up tests through the Wyandotte County Health Equity Task Force.
Free testing is also being conducted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays at the Health Department, 6th and Ann, in the parking lot in Kansas City, Kansas. Tests are for those who live and work in Wyandotte County, and who have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 caes. For more information, call 311 or visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19.
For information on the amended Wyandotte County mask order, visit https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/Communicable%20Disease/COVID19/07142020MaskOrderAmendments.pdf and https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/Communicable%20Disease/COVID19/07142020LocalHealthOfficerOrderMaskAmendments.pdf.
The governor’s executive order on masks is at https://governor.kansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/20200702093130003.pdf.
The governor’s news release on the mask order is at https://governor.kansas.gov/governor-laura-kelly-signs-executive-order-mandating-masks-in-public-spaces/.
The Wyandotte County mask order is at https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/Communicable%20Disease/COVID19/06272020LocalHealthOfficerOrderRegardingMasks.pdf.
Wyandotte County has posted an application for nonprofits, government agencies, school districts and businesses in Wyandotte County that want to apply for CARES Act funding. The web address is https://us.openforms.com/Form/6273fe80-8bba-4c18-b4e7-e551096d8a83.
For information on how to make an easy no-sew mask, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/how-to-make-a-no-sew-cloth-mask/.
For more information about COVID-19 testing, including other sites, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19. Residents also may call 3-1-1 for more information about testing.
The state’s COVID-19 test page is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/280/COVID-19-Testing.
Residents may visit the UG COVID-19 website at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information or call 311 for more information.
Wyandotte County is currently under Phase 3. See covid.ks.gov.
The state plan’s frequently asked questions page is at https://covid.ks.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Reopening-FAQ_5.19.2020_Final.pdf.
The CDC’s COVID-19 web page is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.