KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Counties across the metro loosened mask mandates and other restrictions this week. The requirements were implemented during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System warned Friday that we aren’t out of the woods.
Cases of the coronaviruses are creeping up, according to statistics kept by the Mid America Regional Council. Over the past seven days, 1,035 new cases of coronaviruses have been reported. That compares to 961 cases the prior week.
Doctors said Friday that it’s not the right time for everyone to ignore the precautions we’ve all been taking just because communities are easing restrictions.
“We strongly strongly strongly encourage everyone to continue adhering to the things that they know will keep us safe,” Dr. David Wild, vice president of performance improvement at the University of Kansas Health System, said. “I think from our perspective, it remains true that we know what works to prevent transmission in this disease, and to keep people out of the hospital, and that those things haven’t changed.”
It’s even more of a concern for people who aren’t fully vaccinated, according to health experts. They say it’s impossible to know if everyone in each public setting is vaccinated or not.
“What helps us would help prevent the spread of disease, and ultimately hospitalization and death, Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System, said. “That is the masking, the distancing, the vaccines. We need to continue to do that and we need businesses and private entities to continue to endorse and recommend the mask use for their employees, for their patrons, to keep everybody safe.”
Johnson County is the only one that did away with its mask mandate entirely.