As delta variant looms, Kansas City area health departments recommend vaccinations, masks

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s heath department is suggesting even if you’re vaccinated against COVID-19 you should use caution if you don’t know the vaccination status of others.

In Johnson County, Kansas their health department is telling schools students should continue wearing masks.

A few months into relaxed restrictions, the metro is getting reminders that COVID-19 is still here and if you’re not vaccinated, masks are a must.

Summertime for kids means fun, and relaxing responsibilities. With the delta variant causing cases to rise this fall restrictions may be back in schools.

Parents FOX4 spoke with said they will follow district requirements. However, some felt masks were OK and others felt it was too much. Kids all said they were ready to see masks go.

“It’s hard to breathe in it and it’s kind of hard to talk so I have to speak a little louder, and I don’t like speaking loud that much,” 8-year-old Maya Larbi said.

“Sometimes for me the mask is annoying cause it matters if it feels good or not, because there’s some horrible masks out there,” 10-year-old Avery Miranda said.

The Johnson County Health Department sent out a letter to superintendents and board members recommending districts require masks for unvaccinated people — including kids.

“I think masks in schools right now for kids is overkill. I think we’ve had a whole summer of kids not having new cases in and we should follow what we’re doing now and not have masks in schools,” Avery’s dad, Isaac Miranda said.

The department also said children 12 to 17 should consider getting the vaccine, and local school districts should encourage parents to have their kids get it.

“Adults, I think we need it. We need to have vaccinations. We need to do it as parents to protect our kids and the people we love around us. Vaccination is very important – not for kids. Just for adults,” Maya’s dad, Malik Larbi said.

Across the metro, with delta variant cases rising, health departments put out an advisory reminding people to get the vaccine, and if you don’t have it — they say no need to mask in public.

“It’s safest to assume that some of the people around you are not vaccinated. And to keep that in mind while you’re out. And to keep in mind that the more unvaccinated folks there are, that’s more opportunity for the virus to spread. And for it to mutate. And we’ve already seen variants so far, that spread more easily like the delta variant,” Janell Friesen with the Unified Government Health Department said.

“There are a lot of people who are going to be resistant to wearing their mask again in public but I would just share this: right now our hospitals are seeing a surge in terms of cases and the capacity in our ICU units are being challenged,” Frank Thompson, deputy director of the KCMO Health Department said.

It’s important to remember these are not requirements but suggestions for the time being. All health department are encouraging people to get vaccinated to help reduce the spread of infections.

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