Mask policy being evaluated for Kansas City amid COVID-19 wave, mayor says

Glenn E. Rice/The Kansas City Star
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As hospitals and health officials continue to deal with high COVID-19 case numbers, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said Wednesday options are being weighed that could lead to a more extensive mask policy in the city.

During a televised interview with doctors at the University of Kansas Health System, Lucas said he intends to consult with other area local government leaders in Kansas City, Jackson County, Wyandotte County and Johnson County to discuss measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. Asked Wednesday about the possibility of bringing back a community-wide mandate, Lucas said it’s an option his office continues to evaluate.

No universal mask mandate is currently in place in Kansas City. The city has a requirement that applies to K-12 schools. Days ago the mayor said no immediate plans were in place to widen the city’s requirement, though he sounded more willing to consider the possibility during the interview Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, the rolling average of new COVID-19 cases across the metro area was about 3,668 per day over seven days, according to data tracked by The Star. That’s a little higher than last week’s average of 3,554. Local officials have reported 25,677 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, bringing the total number of cases in Kansas City up to 302,678 since the pandemic began, and the total number of deaths to 3,566.

The current coronavirus numbers are “a dramatic concern,” Lucas said, adding that he has grave concerns with a citywide ability to provide basic public services as infection rates soar and workers quarantine at home in droves. He encouraged area residents to wear masks and get vaccinated if they have yet to do so.

“It did right by me,” Lucas said of the vaccine, saying that his symptoms were mild.

Lucas also addressed during the interview a personal bout he and his infant son had faced because of a breakthrough COVID-19 infection. The mayor, who is fully vaccinated along with his wife, quarantined himself in the garage after his diagnosis, but his 8-month-old later tested positive.

Lucas said Wednesday he and his family were past the “slog” and were again feeling “great.”

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