Sec. Norman on updated reopening plan: ‘I don’t like experimenting with people’

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Wednesday is the first day of the state’s latest reopening plan. The state is now leaving it up to each of its 105 counties to decide what’s best for its communities.

Phases within the state’s reopening plan have become guidelines. Governor Laura Kelly announced the change on Tuesday after Republican lawmakers pushed for her to give local governments more authority.

Now counties with little to no cases will be able to act differently than counties with hot spots in meat packing plants, nursing homes or state prisons.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman worries that some communities will be hurt by reopening to soon.

“We are entering uncharted experimental waters,” Norman said. “I predict that some counties in Kansas will fair well and some counties will fair very poorly. I don’t like experimenting with people, and I consider this next period of time to be an experiment in disease spread and how it takes further route in our citizenry.”

Norman said that he thinks the statewide plan was the best option for Kansas.

“I really think there is a benefit in one, maintaining consistency, and having a certain threshold that counties should achieve for maintaining control of mass gatherings and certain higher risk businesses and industries and the like,” Norman said.

Norman also said that he, Kelly, and Adjutant General David Weishaar met Wednesday to discuss what it will take to prevent a deadly second wave of coronavirus in the state.

Norman said if there is a bad second wave of coronavirus, there may be a push for restrictions to once again be put in place statewide, but there is a question if that can legally happen. That will likely depend on what the Kansas Legislature decides to do next week.

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