Shawnee County health officials say there’s still a ways to go before reaching next phase in reopening

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The Shawnee County Health Department’s message was very clear during their weekly press briefing on Friday. Just because the county is in the beginning phase of reopening, doesn’t mean the virus should be taken lightly.

Shawnee County Health Officer Gianfranco Pezzino said the number of new cases in Shawnee County needs to improve drastically before entering the second phase of reopening.

Shawnee County saw a sharp increase in new cases last week. Local health officials said while that hasn’t been the same for this week, the numbers still aren’t great.

That’s why they’re asking people to continue following safety guidelines such as wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing.

“We’re still at the same level as last week,” said Pezzino. “It’s no reason for celebration because that’s too high a level at this point in the pandemic. We are still too high. Please slow down and take this order seriously. Take it slowly. It’s no time to rush out and celebrate that the pandemic has gone away because it has not gone away.”

Pezzino said they are evaluating the situation on a weekly basis to determine whether stricter guidelines need to be put back in place to help mitigate the spread. So far, they have not had to do that.

The department said they should start seeing results next week on how much we have progressed under phase one of reopening, if at all. That will help them determine if the county gets to move to the next phase when Governor Kelly gives the go-ahead for the state to do so as well.

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