City lowers mask mandate requirements for certain city facilities

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
City lessens requirements for mask mandate at certain city-owned facilities.

Only seven new cases of the COVID-19 virus was reported by the Kansas Department of Health Environment on Wednesday for Ford County. The report keeps Ford County in single digits of new cases per thereport over the past two months.

The report showed zero new hospitalizations, ICU admissions, patient discharges and new deaths, keeping the overall death total related to the virus in Ford County at 73.

According to KDHE director of communications Kristi Zears, a COVID-19 death is any person that died where the death certificate lists COVID-19 or SARS-COV-2 as the underlying cause of death or significant contributing factor to death. With autopsies, toxicology reports, etc., death certificates may not be finalized immediately and the review of death certificates is an ongoing process.

There were zero facilities listed on the Wednesday cluster summary report in Ford County, marking the 10th week in a row zero facilities were listed.

According to the KDHE, it will release the names of locations that have five or more cases with symptom-onset dates in the last 14 days.

As of April 6, Dodge City Public Schools listed three active cases in its facilities, according to its website.

Two students at Bright Beginnings.

One student at Dodge City High School.

Regarding the continued lower case numbers, the City of Dodge City announced lesser requirements of its mask mandate at city-owned facilities.

According to city officials, it updated its mask policy for city employees and facilities, eliminating city employees' requirement to wear masks while on duty except for in certain instances. City-owned facilities will no longer require masks except for United Wireless Arena, the Visitor's Center, the lower level transportation lobby at the Santa Fe Depot, on Public Transportation vehicles and the Dodge City Regional Airport.

"It has been a year since the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in our community, and a lot has occurred since the beginning of the pandemic," said city manager Nick Hernandez. "I am happy to report that around 60% of all city employees have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and immunizations have opened statewide for those 16 and older. "Based on that information, I feel comfortable lessening the requirements for masks with our employees and facilities."

According to city officials, city employees will still be required to wear masks when interacting with the public if a six-foot distance cannot be maintained or if a member of the public asks the employee to wear a mask during their interaction.

"Masks requirements will remain in effect for staff and passengers on our public transportation buses, in the transit center, train station, and the airport per the Federal Transportation Administration requirements," Hernandez said.

The FTA mask mandate remains in effect until May 11.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com