May 11, 2022

COVID tips make mask use easier – The Kansan

By Chad Frey Newton Kansan

It was a day Lynette Redington, director of the Harvey County Health Department, had been waiting for. A day when she could smile as she reviewed COVID-19 stats for the county commission — and for that smile to be seen.

“I am happy to say that I am taking off my mask today. We have reduced some restrictions and the CDC guidelines have been approved by county health officer Dr. Doyle Detwiller.

It’s not that there aren’t any restrictions, but the restrictions are easing as the number of cases continues to fall.

The county is currently listed as a “medium” spread area. CDC guidelines for mask-wearing include mask use for those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease. The CDC advises speaking with health care providers about additional precautions, such as wearing masks or respirators indoors in public.

“Six feet of physical distancing is always encouraged. … It’s safer to be outside if you want to be exposed. There are still restrictions for certain entities that receive [funds]”, Redington said.

Under the designation of “low speed”, the use of the mask is considered a personal choice.

In areas of high spread, the CDC advises wearing a properly fitted mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk — including in K-12 schools and other community settings.

Last week, only 12 new infections were discovered in the county, and the number of active cases dropped alongside that number to six.

“The last time we had six active cases was November 17,” Redington said.

The percentage of positive tests for the week fell to 2.3% – less than half of the previous week.

“If you feel sick, you should get tested. .. We are still in the middle range for community spread,” Redington said. “… There are still free test sites.”

Free testing sites include Harvey Drug, Hesston Pharmacy and a site at Chisholm Trail Retail and Outlet Shops.

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