County health officials support governor's mask order
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed an executive order on Thursday that requires most Kansans to wear a face mask while in public spaces and in places where individuals are unable to maintain social distancing of six feet.
Cloud County Health Officer Dr. Dorothy Breault and Cloud County Health Department administrator Brandi Bray released a statement supporting the governor's order.
The statement reads:
To the Citizens of Cloud County,
First off, we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding through these new and difficult times that we have all been facing the past several months with the COVID-19 pandemic. Life has certainly been strange and difficult to say the least.
Up until recently our county has not had to face high numbers of cases that many states and communities have. However, with the recent spike in cases, having gone from 5 positives up to 27 positives within a 2-week period of time, we are now showing community spread. We have continued with the strong recommendation for social distancing and mask wearing when social distancing is not possible.
The other key factor in slowing the spread is staying in quarantine if you have been ordered to do so by the health department because you are COVID-19 positive or have had close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive.
Some people have done an outstanding job with following these recommendations. However, if everyone were following these recommendations/orders, we likely would not have seen this dramatic rise in cases in our community.
We know this virus is not going away anytime soon. We know that we cannot stop it from spreading completely. Let me remind you that we are trying to protect to those who will be most vulnerable to the virus, and most likely to have severe problems with the disease, or even death.
While young and healthy people can have severe disease and death from this, the most vulnerable are the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions that compromise their immune system. These are the people who will be more likely to need hospitalization and stress the medical system beyond its capacity. No one wants their loved ones or neighbors dying from this.
So how do we try to prevent this from happening? The same ways that we have been discussing for the past 3 months: quarantining if ordered to do so, social distancing, good hand hygiene, wearing masks.
Wearing masks is one of the most effective ways for preventing the mask wearer from transmitting the virus to other people. We also know that we can transmit the virus even when we are not having symptoms, which is why it is important for everyone to don a mask, not just if you are sick.
Wearing a mask does provide the wearer some protection, but it is most important and effective for protecting those around you from your germs.
This is why we are in support of the Governor's executive order 20-52. Again, if everyone were already following the recommendations for social distancing and mask wearing when social distancing is not possible, we likely would not have seen the recent dramatic increase in cases. Hence the reason for the governor to put this law into effect.
Anyone who has been wearing a mask on a regular basis lately will admit that wearing a mask is not comfortable. However, for the majority of people, it is not dangerous. It does not decrease your oxygen levels in your blood or make you sick. Executive order 20-52 does a good job of outlining who should wear a mask, and what an appropriate mask is. The CDC and WHO are great resources for mask information, use, and care instructions as well.
We are hoping that our state, county and city police and first responders will continue to keep the safety of our community as their top priority, and help with enforcement of quarantine orders of positive cases and their close contacts. We are hoping that they can partner with us in education and provision of masks to those in violation of Executive Order 20-52.
Remember, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible is more about protecting your loved ones, neighbors, and community than protecting yourself. This selfless act may not be comfortable, and may be inconvenient, but isn't that worth it if it can help save lives and keep our businesses open and thriving? We sure think so! That is why your Cloud County Health Officer and Administrator stand in support of Kansas Governor's Executive Order 20-52 mandating masks in public.
Dorothy Breault, MD
Cloud County Health Officer
Brandi Bray, RN
Cloud County Health Department Administrator