Due to ‘dramatic rise in data’
mandatory mask requirement is coming to Platte County.
An email circulated by the Platte County Health Department to sources in the local business community indicates the mask requirement will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, July 16.
“This decision was made as a result of the dramatic increase in our weekly COVID-19 case count as well as an increasing positive test rate, which has nearly tripled to over 14% (seven day moving average) since June 24,” says the email from the health department.
In the email apparently sent to business organizations, the health department says “the specific details of this updated order are being reviewed by the board of trustees, director and deputy director of the health department, with all details being available to the public the first part of the week.”
In an accompanying message as part of the email, Mary Jo Vernon, director of the Platte County Health Department, says:
“We are sad to report that our case count has risen by 30 thus far this week and our positivity rate has tripled. Some area hospitals are reporting high numbers of in-patient admits for COVID-19 while the admit rates for others are staying stable.”
Vernon goes on to say: “We have received numerous emails from our citizens stating that they will not shop or visit Platte County businesses if a mask mandate is not put in place. We most certainly do not want to harm our businesses that have just opened up.”
She then adds: “We are one of the last counties in the metro to enact this mandate but feel that the continued dramatic rise in data demands this type of action. Our hope is that we can reduce the increase in cases by working together.”
The Platte County Health Department Board of Trustees apparently voted to move to a mandatory face covering requirement in Platte County during a special session on Wednesday, July 8.
While some business organizations appear to have been given advance notice, no official word had been given to the media as of Friday at 5:30 p.m. (UPDATE: The health department later sent out a press release about 6 p.m., shortly after this story had been posted).
In what appears to be draft language for a planned press release, Platte County Health Department officials say “this notice is being given to allow organizations and businesses in our community time to make plans to meet these requirements.”
In the notice circulated to business organizations, the health department says businesses will be asked to post a sign on their doors with the following wording: “Masks must be continuously worn to enter and remain at these premises by order of the Platte County Health Department.”
A list of exceptions to the mandatory masking will be outlined in the order language to include medical conditions, age of children and exception while eating and drinking during dining at food establishments.
“With the increase in COVID-19 cases on the rise, we are urging everyone to do their part to minimize the spread of the virus by the simple, research-proven measures of physical distancing, wearing a mask and hand hygiene,” Vernon says in the draft of a press release.
“We want to encourage everyone to support our businesses by providing other patrons the assurance that they are as safe as possible while shopping. During this health crisis, it takes all of us making a commitment to fight this virus,” Vernon adds.
As of Friday, July 10, the Platte County Health Department had reported 158 positive COVID-19 results within its jurisdiction. As of Friday, the Kansas City Health Department reported 136 Platte Countians within the Kansas City jurisdiction had tested positive, for a total of 294 Platte County residents with positive test results.
The Platte County Health Department is reporting six deaths in the county due to COVID-19.