Addressing the Wellington City Council in its recent meeting, Sumner County Health Dept. Director Laura Rettig said there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sumner County.
Rettig, at last week’s city council meeting, said the health department would alert the public if there were a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county. The department would make contact with every person who had recent contact with the infected person and require them to quarantine in their home for 14 days, then get tested.
Cheryl Wright, a health department representative also at the meeting, said anyone with the virus should be in a room separate from any other people in the home.
“Stay away from as many people as possible,” she said.
She emphasized keeping separate from the sick person, but said anyone entering the “sick room” of an infected person should wear a mask and practice good hygiene, Wright said.
Sumner County Family Care Center is testing people for COVID-19, Rettig said. A nasal swab is taken and sent to the KDHE lab where it takes an average of two days to get results from the test.
“If things escalate, we’re looking at a drive thru center,” Rettig said.
In other business, Kip Etter, former city council member and owner of the restaurant, The Dore, addressed the council.
Etter said his restaurant has taken numerous steps to stay clean in the wake of COVID-19. Staff have upped the amount of cleaning they do of bathrooms, the phones and screens they touch. They have implemented delivery service. The restaurant has gone to single use paper plates and single packages of condiments like salt and pepper and ketchup and mustard. There are no longer peanuts on the floor.
“We’re trying to be as socially responsible as we can,” he said.
Business has been affected by COVID-19 with sales being off by 60 to 85 percent, Etter said. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has issued an executive order that the disconnect date for missed utility payments be moved back to May 1. Etter talked to the council about the possibility of it extending the cut-off date.
“I’m not coming before you asking for a hand-out, but I am asking the council to be open-minded,” Etter said.
The council did not make any decisions on an extension at the meeting, which Etter later expressed disappointment about.
“We just need answers now so we can make decisions now instead of being reactory with decisions later,” he said. “I walked away from the meeting with the feeling that they felt annoyed I was there.”
Etter said it was not just him, but other business owners being affected.
Mayor Jim Valentine said, later, “I’m a business owner too. I’m very concerned.” But he said the council could not make a definitive decision when it is unclear what will happen with the pandemic. The governor or federal government could issue an order that the city would have to meet.
“No mayor, no city manager can up the governor,” Valentine said.
“There are no sides. We’re all in this together, even Mr. Etter.”