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Is Kansas City’s mask mandate the right move? Officials at KU health system say so

·1 min read

Doctors at The University of Kansas Health System said they were in “total agreement” with Kansas City’s decision to reinstate a mask mandate as COVID-19 cases surge across the metro.

“I think we have to support it at this point in time, medically,” said Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the health system.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced on Wednesday that masks will be required in indoor spaces for everyone older than age 5. The mandate goes into effect Monday, Aug. 2 and will last until at least Saturday, Aug. 28.

The city lifted its previous mandate in mid-May.

That was before the more transmissible delta variant began ravaging the state. The variant was detected in wastewater in the Kansas City region June 23. Cases have sharply risen since then.

On Wednesday, the metro added 670 new cases. The seven-day rolling average rose from 452 to 483, according to data tracked by The Star.

Five deaths were added, raising the metro’s total to 2,329 since the pandemic began.

Physicians stressed the importance of getting vaccinated, wearing masks and social distancing.

“Vaccine continues to look like it protects from severe illness and death,” said chief medical officer Steve Stites.

Johnson County continues to lead in the metro with 58% of its residents fully vaccinated. That’s followed by Platte County at 41.5%, Jackson County at 40.1%, Clay County at 39.2% and Wyandotte County at 38%, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccine information can be found at vaccines.gov or on the Kansas City Health Department’s website.

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