Osawatomie’s mask ordinance will remain in effect, the city said in a news release posted on its website Friday, Nov. 20.
Osawatomie joins the city of Paola in opting to keep its mask ordinance in place, and the city of Osawatomie is taking other steps to slow the COVID-19 spread.
Given the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the metropolitan area, including Miami County, the city of Osawatomie is going to revert back to many of the practices that were in place last spring, City Manager Mike Scanlon said in an email to City Council members on Thursday, Nov. 19.
“The severity of COVID-19 infections in Miami County is alarming,” Scanlon said in an email. “Currently, we have almost 200 active cases (reported since Nov. 2). We have only had 800 total cases since April but a full 25 percent of the cases have occurred in the last 14 days.”
The Kansas Department of Health’s COVID-19 report issued Friday, Nov. 19, paints an even grimmer picture for Miami County, which is well on its way now to reaching 900 cases.
Miami County added 80 cases this week, from 786 cases on Monday, Nov. 16, to 866 cases on Friday, Nov. 20, according to KDHE numbers.
“With college students returning now and Thanksgiving next week, the outlook is that the outbreak will get even worse and we will eventually outstrip our hospital and medical worker resources,” Scanlon said.
He said the city must protect the public from the continued spread of COVID-19.
"As COVID-19 positive cases continue to rise at an alarming rate at the local, regional, and state levels, Osawatomie has chosen to continue to implement proactive and precautionary measures to protect our community and staff from the growing threat of the novel coronavirus and associated COVID-19 disease," the city's news release said. "Throughout the pandemic, all city staff members have been instructed to practice good social distancing and actively incorporate safety guidelines at all work sites and offices, including wearing masks or other approved face coverings.
"In the coming weeks, city staff will be working rotating schedules, balancing remote and in-person office hours, and implementing other safeguards to minimize our chances of spreading this disease within our staff," according to the city news release.
Scanlon said the decision has been made to close certain city facilities to help reduce the risk of community exposure.
"The more that we do to interrupt that spread the better off our community will be," he said.
The following list details planned city closures and changes in operation that will begin on Monday, Nov. 23, and remain in effect until Jan. 31, 2021:
- City of Osawatomie Ordinance No. 3783 requiring the use of approved face coverings is still in effect. The Ordinance can be found in full at https://www.osawatomieks.org/Index.aspx?NID=337
- All City Hall and utility offices will be closed to the public until Jan. 31, 2021.
- Utility payments are still being accepted in the utility drop box, over the phone, and online.
- City staff will conduct necessary business via phone or email. Contact City Clerk Tammy Seamands at firstname.lastname@example.org; Building Official Ed Beaudry at email@example.com; or Human Resources Director and Cemetery Clerk Ashley Kobe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Osawatomie Public Library will operate with limited hours and limited staff until January 31st, 2021. Patrons may not enter the library proper but will be able to pick up material in the library lobby. Items may still be returned to the outdoor drop box. Contact Library Director Elizabeth Trigg at email@example.com.
- Osawatomie Golf Course will operate with limited clubhouse availability until Jan. 31, 2021. Contact Golf Course Superintendent Eric Draper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All rentals at city facilities (Memorial Hall, Municipal Auditorium, Old Stone Church) will be suspended through Jan. 31, 2021. City staff will contact anyone with an existing reservation.
- John Brown Museum and State Historic Site will be closed to the public until Jan. 31, 2021. Contact Museum Curator Grady Atwater at email@example.com.
- John Brown Memorial Park, Anna January Park, and the Flint Hills Trail will remain open to the public. The use of playground equipment is being discouraged until further notice. Playground equipment is a high-touch area and we cannot guarantee its cleanliness, according to the city.
- Osawatomie Municipal Court is continuing at this time. The lobby will be limited to 10 people on court days and face coverings will be required for the duration of the session. Court times will be modified in an effort to limit the number of people gathered, decrease wait times, and encourage social distancing. Those with the ability to access court proceedings from home (via Zoom) are encouraged to do so in order to limit the number of people reporting in person, according to the city. Contact the Court Clerk’s Office at (913) 755-3695 for more information.
In addition to wearing appropriate masks, the city of Osawatomie is encouraging residents to "avoid gathering in groups outside of your household, and be aware of your social distance during your activity."