KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Wyandotte County now joins Kansas City, Missouri and Jackson County in reinstating an indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccine status, to help slow the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Commissioners with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas listened to recommendations from the health department in a special session last Thursday night.
The order excludes public and private schools and also excludes the cities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville, Kansas. UG Commissioners opted to leave the decision of mask requirements to school boards and to elected officials.
The new order aligns with the newest CDC guidance from July 27 that counties with substantial or high transmission require masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
The health order went into effect Friday, August 6 and will end on Sept. 16, 2021.
The mask mandate is for people ages 5 and older though the UG said it encourages children 2 and older to wear masks if able.
Under the new order people must wear a face covering inside public places including schools, businesses and places of worship as well as people waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle.
All businesses or organizations in Wyandotte County must require all employees, customers, and visitors to wear a mask.
Wyandotte County continues to have exceptionally low vaccination rates with only 35% of county residents fully vaccinated.
The new order states those who are elderly, immunocompromised, or otherwise more susceptible to COVID-19 should consider wearing a higher grade medical mask such as N95 or KN95.
The positivity rate for COVID-19 is higher than it’s been since the beginning of the year.
The health department said Delta variant is causing significant community spread and outbreaks in Wyandotte County due to low vaccination rate with 100% of cases since July 1 the variant.
“This is much more transmissible than prior types of COVID,” the health department said. “We are concerned about the tripling of numbers in our hospitals across the region and in Wyandotte.”
“We definitely are not seeing trends in the right direction,” Hand said. “And 100% of the cases that we’re seeing in Wyandotte County right now are the Delta Variant. So that has high risk of community spread and can be very dangerous for people,” said Ashley Hand with the UG.
The health department said vaccines are slightly less effective against the Delta variant but is still the best protection.
The new order also states that violation of the order is a “Class C Misdemeanor” and punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a 30-day jail sentence.
Wyandotte County let its previous health order requiring face masks to expire back in May.
For COVID-19 vaccine and testing information in Wyandotte County, click here.
Kansas City, Missouri’s new mask order will went into effect Monday, August 2 and will end on Saturday, August 28.
Jackson County announced Wednesday it will issue a mask mandate for people 5 and older and will go into effect August 9. According to a new state law, a public health order is now limited to 30 days. Any extension of this order beyond 30 days will require the support of a majority of the Jackson County Legislature.