Commission extends emergency order

Chad Frey
The Kansan

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The Harvey County Commission extended the emergency order of the local health officer currently in place without modifications through Aug. 11.

The order, which does not modify a mask order passed one week ago, keeps the county in “phase out” of a multi-phase plan to reopen the Kansas economy after business, school and community shutdowns ordered earlier this year by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The commission extended the emergency order on Monday, meeting a day early to facilitate the use of the courthouse community room for advance voting in the 2020 primary to start on Tuesday.

The Phase Out guidance does not restrict mass gathering size. Businesses and event coordinators are still encouraged to promote hygiene protocols and social distancing among customers and visitors.

The mask order, which does not contain enforcement or fines, states masks must be worn in situations that social distancing cannot be observed — inside and outside. It contains exemptions based on mental and physical health.

The county also discussed assisting Wichita State University, possibly with CARES act funding or other means, to expand the testing capabilities for COVID-19 in the area.

“Community testing that is prompt and quick must be a part of our plan, wherever we end up,“ said Anthony Swartzendruber. county administrator.

Wichita State has been working on bringing a saliva-based rapid test to the area. The university contacted Harvey County about bringing the needed equipment to the area.

“They need two machines,” Swartzendruber said. “One country has ordered 200 of those. My understanding is that (WSU) will have them by October.”

The commission did not make any formal decisions about how to assist in bringing expanded testing to the area.

Prior to the meeting, the county health department announced eight new positive cases in the county. All individuals are in home isolation. The health department will regularly monitor the health of the individuals, as well as follow up on all close contacts.

Harvey County has had 116 COVID-19 cases to date, including 112 confirmed and four probable cases. There are 37 known active cases in Harvey County. One individual remains hospitalized.

There have been 2,890 tests for COVID-19 conducted in Harvey County.