Wichita City Council votes to extend mask mandate

Rodney Price
September 08, 2020 - 7:33 pm
A black face mask on a gray background

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After a nearly 9-hour meeting, the Wichita City Council voted to extend the city's public mask wearing mandate to no later than October 21.

If the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests in Sedgwick County reach 5 percent or less for two weeks and local hospitals have fewer COVID-19 patients, the city's mandate will end prior to that date. 

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Council member Becky Tuttle favored the mandate but said it was time for it to return to the control of the county's board of health, the Sedgwick County Commission.

121 people, mainly opposed to extending the mandate, spoke in front of the council Tuesday at the remote site at Century II.

The Sedgwick County Health Department says the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations peaked on August 3rd at 72, with 34 in ICU. On August 31st, those numbers dropped to 50 and 23 respectively but this week the numbers have trended up, to 59 total with 33 patients in ICU. 

The rolling 14-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is currently at 7.93%. That number was around 1% on May 27th and then reached a peak of 14.06% on July 23rd.

Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns has said he won't lift the county's mandate until a COVID-19 vaccine is available.


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