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Johnson County reviewing federal COVID-19 guidance as Kansas City announces mask order

·2 min read

Update: The special session for the Unified Government’s Board of Commissioners has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday. This story has been updated to reflect the change.

As Kansas City reinstates its mask mandate, health officials in Johnson County said they also are concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

“Cases are increasing rapidly, driven largely by the Delta variant. Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is concerned about this,” Sanmi Areola, Johnson County’s top public health official, said in a statement. “We are reviewing the updated guidance from CDC and will continue to update our residents and elected officials.”

The Johnson County board of commissioners meet on Thursday. On the agenda is an update on COVID-19 and vaccination in the county.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidelines Tuesday afternoon, saying individuals — including those who’ve been vaccinated — should wear masks indoors where the risk of transmission is considered high or substantial.

Johnson County dropped its mask mandate after officials decided in late April to strongly recommend that residents get vaccinated, continue to wear masks and social distance to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Kansas City, Missouri, mask mandate

Kansas City will once again be under a mask mandate.

Under new guidance issued by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas Wednesday morning, the mandate will require masks indoors for everyone older than 5 years old, regardless of their vaccination status, in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.

It goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 2 and lasts until at least 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28. Kansas City lifted its previous mask mandate in May.

Lucas announced late Tuesday night that the city would return to masking up, making it the second Missouri metro to return to masks after St. Louis’ mandate went into effect Monday.

Wyandotte County leaders to meet in special session

Health officials will meet with Wyandotte County leaders in a special session Thursday evening to discuss COVID-19 and any health order recommendations, a spokeswoman for the Unified Government said Wednesday.

Unified Government mayor and CEO David Alvey called the special session to be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Fifth Floor conference room at City Hall, 701 N. 7th Street in Kansas City, Kansas.

“The Unified Government Public Health Department will be presenting the latest data on COVID-19 and any recommendations to the Board of Commissioners,” said Ashley Hand, director of strategic communications for the Unified Government.

“The situation is changing rapidly, but I can say that we as a community have typically followed CDC guidelines. It will be up to the elected Commission, however, to issue any health orders such as a mask mandate.”

Cortlynn Stark contributed reporting

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