The Harvey County mask mandate has been contentious from inception, with the county first choosing to not put an order in place after an executive order from Gov. Laura Kelly in June.


The Kansas Governor issued Executive Order 2020-52 on July 2, 2020 requiring all individuals to wear a face mask in public when maintaining a six foot "social distance" is not possible between individuals. The same day the county rejected that action, though continued to monitor COVID-19 infections locally.


Less than two weeks later, the commission passed passed a mask ordinance, and then in August renewed that ordinance.


August 19 the commission listened to about 40 minutes of public comment decrying the ordinance, but took no action that day — leaving in place the ordinance active on that day.


That ordinance is set to expire Sept. 15, as is an emergency health order.


Both the mask ordinance and the health order — which would extend the county’s reopening plan currently in "phase out" mode — are on the Sept. 15 agenda.


According to a memo by county administration to the commission, on July 15 when the mask order was initiated, Harvey County's seven-day average of new daily positive COVID-19 cases was 5.7 cases. After three, 14 day incubation periods since this order was initiated, the county's seven-day average of new daily positive COVID-19 cases was maintaining between 2 and 3 cases, with the seven day average of new daily positive COVID-19 cases being 2.0 cases on Sept. 9.


If approved, the extension of the mask ordinance would run through Oct. 19. The same would be true for the emergency health order. According to a memo by county administration to the commission, as of Sept. 9 the county Health Officer Dr. Doyle Detwiller recommended staying in phase out of the reopening plan.