TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The state’s top doctor is putting blame on mass gatherings and lax county guidelines for the substantial increase in coronavirus cases in Kansas.
According to Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Lee Norman, after Governor Kelly relinquished power to county officials on May 27th, cases have been rapidly increasing.
“That’s when many many counties opened up and many just returned to business as usual,” said Secretary Norman. “Particularly with the opening up of mass gatherings.”
According to KDHE, since Monday, the number of positive coronavirus cases in Kansas has increased by 547. From Monday of last week to this Monday, a 7-day span, nearly 2,000 new cases have emerged.
Secretary Norman said much of that increase is due to large gatherings of people, including bars, funerals, church services and family gatherings. Norman said this is especially concerning ahead of the 4th of July weekend.
“While our 4th of July celebrations will, undoubtedly, be a little different this year, I want to remind everyone to the importance of safety,” said Norman. “Please remain vigilant. Now is not the time to let your guard down. You are your own preparedness.”
It is recommended to not attend large gatherings right now. If you do go out, wear a face mask and practice social distancing. If you are feeling sick, stay home.
“It amazes me how many people know their ill and blow by it and go to work or play or whatever they’re doing. So stay home when you’re ill,” said Norman.
As a state health official, Secretary Norman does have the ability to shut down gatherings that he deems to be unsafe. This would be done by issuing a mandatory order which would then be carried out by law enforcement. Norman did not say whether he anticipates needing to use that power this weekend.