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Gov. Laura Kelly: Masks required for state employees, facilities beginning Monday

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 2:36 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Update: Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday that state employees and anyone entering a state facility will be required to wear a mask if they are unable to social distance or in a public area.

The COVID-19 rollback, which begins Monday, is for those who are unvaccinated and vaccinated. It also applies to anyone entering a state facility.

The governor said the new order is the result of half the state’s population not getting vaccinated, allowing the highly contagious delta variant to spread. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 2,177 new cases as of Wednesday and three new deaths.

The governor’s announcement comes one day after the CDC recommended that masks be worn indoors by both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas where there is substantial to high transmission of COVID-19.

COVID-19 transmission is high in much of central and eastern Kansas, including in Shawnee County and Topeka where the State Capitol is located. The governor said her latest safety precautions do not apply in counties with low to moderate transmission, which is mainly in western Kansas.

A central Kansas school district is requiring masks in its buildings and public health officials in one of the state’s most populous counties are recommending that nearly every resident wear masks in indoor public spaces.

The developments in the Salina school district and Douglas County in northeast Kansas came quickly after a surge in new COVID-19 cases tied to the faster-spreading delta variant prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change its guidance on masks.

The CDC now recommends that even vaccinated people wear them indoors in places where COVID-19 is surging.

Gov. Laura Kelly scheduled a Wednesday afternoon news conference to discuss the new CDC guidance.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.