Pottawatomie County, Kan. (March 20, 2020) — Earlier today Riley County announced it had identified its first confirmed COVID-19 case. Pottawatomie County remains without any positive COVID diagnoses. As Riley County and Pottawatomie County share portions of Manhattan and serve many of the same citizens, Pottawatomie County has decided to follow the restrictions issued by Riley County. These restrictions are effective as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21, 2020:
I. All restaurant lobbies, that have not already done so, are ordered to close. Restaurants may still provide carry-out, delivery, and drive through services, and
II. Per her authority through Kansas State Statute 65-119, the Pottawatomie County Health Officer, Lisa Kenworthy issued an order prohibiting all public gatherings of more than 10 people, whether indoors or outdoors, in Pottawatomie County, unless otherwise exempted below. This order prohibiting public gatherings shall remain in effect until at least Monday, April 4, 2020.
The following gatherings are exempt from this order, but may be restricted or banned in the future:
· A prohibited “public gathering” does not include a non-commercial and lawful gathering entirely indoors and within a private living space.
· A prohibited “public gathering” does not include licensed and lawfully operated medical service provider offices, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
· A prohibited “public gathering” does not include grocery and/or convenience stores, provided proper “social distancing” is maintained at all times under then-existing CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or KDHE (Kansas Department of Health & Education) guidelines.
· A prohibited “public gathering” does not include local, state or federal governmental operations, in public buildings, provided their operations are in compliance with the local health officer’s orders which have been issued with regard to their conduct of public business.
· A prohibited "public gathering" does not include operations or events at or within commercial spaces, whether indoors or outdoors where persons are gathered in groups of less than ten (10) persons at one time, with at all times proper “social distancing” maintained under then-existing CDC or KDHE guidelines.
· A prohibited ‘public gathering” does not include a licensed and lawfully operated (under Kansas statutes and all Riley County Health Department and KDHE standards) child care facility provided:
1. Every child must be screened upon entry and again prior to leaving. The temperature check cannot be taken within four (4) hours after a fever reducing medication was given.
2. The childcare facility must present, upon request of the Local Health Officer, the completed screening form for each child in its facility. Failure to comply will result in the revocation of the childcare facility’s license.
3. This licensed childcare facility exemption will not go into effect until Monday, March 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
PLEASE BE AWARE ANY VIOLATION OF THE ABOVE ORDER, AND ANY VIOLATION OF THE EXEMPTIONS DESCRIBED ABOVE MAY SUBJECT THE VIOLATOR TO AN INDIVIDUAL ORDER BANNING FUTURE GATHERINGS AT THAT SPECIFIC LOCATION AND MAY INCLUDE CRIMINAL PENALTIES.
Everyone is strongly encouraged to follow the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and local public health officials and private medical providers. These approaches are used to minimize morbidity and mortality and the social and economic impacts of COVID-19.
The Pottawatomie County Health Department will continue to work with the local medical community; with the Director of Emergency Medical Services, Pottawatomie County Emergency Management; and the elected leaders of Pottawatomie County to make decisions in the best interest of all people in Pottawatomie County.
Protecting the health of our local community will always be our top priority and the next few weeks and months will be crucial to limit the spread of this virus.
When asked what was the best thing we could do at this time, Dr. Dane Ditto, the EMS Medical Director stated, “Find the vulnerable ones (in your community) and take care of them.”
For more information about Pottawatomie County’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, visit https://www.pottcounty.org/495/Coronavirus-Information. For up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) webpage at www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus.