Health officials: Sedgwick County could soon see effects of mask order

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 4:48 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Almost one month into Sedgwick County’s mandatory mask order, health officials are hopeful we’ll soon start to see its effects. They say data this week will likely help us to know if the mask order is working in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases in Sedgwick County.

Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns said, however, it could be another week to see the impact.

“It takes a while for all the test results to come in. So, it takes a while for the numbers to accumulate to where we feel secure,” Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said.

Byrne said for this week, cases have decreased, but agrees with Dr. Minns that the next week to 10 days will truly show if the mask order is working to reduce COVID-19 cases. Earlier this week, Dr. Minns shared a cautiously optimistic view that early evidence indicates the order is helping.

“It’s going to take more than this week to show a trend, but at least we are starting,” she said.

Sedgwick County’s mask order is set to last until Aug. 21. Dr. Minns and Byrne said if the order is lifted too soon, we could see another spike in cases as we did after the previous stay-at-home order ended in May.

“We got too comfortable, thinking maybe COVID wasn’t in our community that much, but it’s here and it’s going to stay,” Byrne said.

Dr. Minns and Byrne said wearing masks will likely become the new normal for the remainder of 2020 and even when cases decrease, we shouldn’t let our guards down.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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