Lyon County Public Health added four new positive COVID-19 cases and two new recoveries during its Thursday afternoon update, bringing the county’s number of active cases back up to 20.
The county also added two new hospitalizations since Wednesday, bringing the total number of local inpatients to three. The condition and severity of those patients is unknown at this time.
Health officials have reported 515 total cases of the novel coronavirus since the disease first appeared in the county in March. There have been 487 overall recoveries and seven deaths.
The report comes after Lyon County Commissioners adopted a new Public Health Order Thursday morning, which again declined to make facial coverings mandatory for locals while in public spaces — though commissioners did “highly encourage” residents to wear them.
According to the Associated Press, Kansas’ top health official says most counties are not following Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order requiring people to wear masks to help contain the spread of COVID-19, even though data is showing that masks work.
Department of Heath and Environment Secretary Norman said in a Wednesday news briefing that countries with cultural norms or government policies that support public mask-wearing have seen nine-fold decreases in mortality.
Norman cited the data from a study published in the journal Health Affairs, which he said also showed a decrease in U.S. infections between 1% and 2% daily in states that mandate masks.
Kelly, a Democrat, issued an executive order on July 2 requiring people to wear masks in public and in their workplaces because of a surge in cases. The mandate took effect at 12:01 a.m. July 3.
Counties can opt out of Kelly’s mask order under a new pandemic law that took effect in June and resulted from a compromise between Kelly and the Republican-led Legislature.
The department on Wednesday reported 717 more confirmed cases since Monday, an increase of more than 4% that brings the total to at least 17,618 cases. The department on Wednesday also reported 282 COVID-19 deaths, up two since Monday.
Kansas has 23 active COVID-19 clusters associated with gatherings, along with six in daycares and schools, Norman said. Clusters related to gatherings have increased by seven since Monday, which include infections at bars, parties and church services, he said.
In Lyon County, there are currently three active clusters related to COVID-19. One active cluster is related to the meatpacking industry. That cluster has resulted in 193 total cases, with three ongoing patients. Four people have died.
Two other clusters totaling 126 cases ar e attributed to private industries. Of those clusters, there are currently four active cases and one death has been reported.
Norman also said that “a lot” of virus cases have stemmed from workplaces.
“It really amazes me that people are still going to work sick knowing that they really shouldn’t,” he said.
Monday’s numbers set a new record for the worst two-week spike in reported coronavirus cases in the state since the pandemic began.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher than the official numbers indicate because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
The state has started collecting data on the percentages of COVID-19 cases that are symptomatic and asymptomatic, Norman said.