Gov. Kelly hopes for bipartisan statewide mask requirement

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 10:42 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly is calling on Kansans to listen to scientists and public health officials by wearing their masks.

Gov. Kelly said she plans to host bipartisan talks with House and Senate leadership to discuss a statewide mask requirement. She said she is not making a mask mandate at this time, but hopes leaders can come to a consensus on a statewide plan.

“I’ve stated all along and still believe a one-size-fits-all COVID solution doesn’t work for our diverse state," said Senate President Susan Wagle. "Local leaders have done a great job in dictating local responses after public hearings and discussions with their constituents.”

The Governor’s announcement comes after the largest increase in positive COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. She said Kansas is reporting as many as 700 new cases a day.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, since Monday there have been 1,488 new positive cases of COVID-19 and 25 new deaths. Overall the state has seen 74,456 cases and 952 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Gov. Kelly said the large influx of patients is preventing some hospitals from performing non-emergent procedures. She said over the last two weeks, Norton County had the largest percent increase in the nation for COVID-19 cases. She said a big factor is the Andbe breakout where all 62 residents contracted the virus and 10 died due to complications from the virus.

According to Gov. Kelly, harmful antimask and antiscience rhetoric have hindered the nation’s ability to respond to COVID-19 in the proper manner. She cited this as one of the reasons for her bipartisan talks.

Oct. 21, 2020, 10:42 a.m.

Gov. Kelly to discuss Norton outbreak in COVID-19 update

Governor Laura Kelly will update Kansas on its COVID-19 mitigation efforts on Wednesday.

The governor will specifically discuss the state’s response efforts to the outbreak in Norton County. Earlier this week, the Norton County Health Department said 10 people at the Andbe Nursing Facility died from COVID-19. The other 52 residents have tested positive for the virus along with some staff members. At the Norton Correctional Facility, there are 146 active cases of COVID-19, including 135 inmates and 11 staff members.

Gov. Kelly says she will hold a news conference on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 4 p.m., to update the state regarding its COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

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