Riley County backtracks move to Phase 3 for vaccines by order of Kansas health officials


RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNT) – After previously considering a move to Phase 3, Riley County has to stay this week in Phase 2 of the state’s vaccine planning guidelines by order from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, according to the area’s health department.

The backtrack comes after the Riley County Health Department also rescinded all COVID-19 restrictions except a mask mandate, a sign of progression back to normal. Last week, the Riley County Health Department didn’t want to continue sorting essential workers in Phase 2, and said it would be moving to Phase 3 soon. RCHD Director Julie Gibbs explained that sorting through who is and isn’t in Phase 2’s high-contact critical worker category could slow down the county’s ability to vaccinate people under 65 with underlying health issues.

A spokeswoman for RCHD said KDHE told them to remain in Phase 2 in order to keep focus on vaccinating essential workers. This includes waste-water, government, retail and food workers.

“We had hoped to, but after speaking to KDHE, we will be remaining in Phase 2 to vaccinate those considered essential workers by the state,” said Alice Massimi with RCHD.

The county’s shipment of first-round doses was delayed this week because KDHE did not have their new plan, but the departments said those doses should come later this week.

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