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Russell County Health Department

COVID-19 Resource Page



Frequently Asked Questions

How long is this order effective?

Until May 3, 2020, unless it is amended or rescinded

May this order be amended?

Yes, it may be amended by the Governor

Does this order require that I have paperwork to go to my job that is an Essential Business?


Can someone be issued a fine or citation for not following the order?

Yes, Law Enforcement may issue a citation if they deem it necessary to do so. The Russell County Health Officer can issue a closure order to any business that does not comply.

How do I know if my business is deemed Essential?

Refer to the list of those businesses that fall under the Kansas Essential Function Framework that is outlined in Governor Kelly’s Executive Order listed on page 4 of the order. If your business operations fall in that list it is considered Essential.

What does “Minimum Essential Operations” mean?

An example would be a nail salon that is shut down due to this order; but an individual still needs to do inventory, cleaning, accounts payable, or respond to a panic/fire alarm. Those operations need to continue. But client appointments will not.

Does this order allow hair salons, barbers, bingo halls, and nail salons to continue operations?


Does this order prevent children custody exchanges from occurring?

No. The order allows parents to transport their children for purposes of child care by another and the order also clarifies that it would be an Essential Activity to comply with valid court orders, including any custody orders.

Does this order require child care facilities to close?

No. The order indicates that, to the extent possible, child care facilities should place children in groupings of not more than 10 children such that children would remain within the same group (i.e., not switched from one group to another group), and with employees of the child care facilities only remaining with only one group of children.

Can I still go to any of my medical appointments?


Can I still buy groceries?


Can I still buy gas for my vehicle?


Are restaurants and bars required to close?

No. Restaurants and bars can remain open, but they would not be able to serve food and beverages to patrons that would consume food and beverages within the restaurant or bar. Instead, the restaurant or bar would be able to provide food and beverages through drive thru, delivery, or carry out options.

I’m moving soon. Will my movers still be able to move my things to my new residence?


Are banks, credit unions, and payday lending locations allowed to remain open?


Can mental health service providers and substance abuse service providers remain open?


Can my business have employees work from home?

Yes, this order encourages employees work from home, when feasible.

Can gymnasiums and fitness clubs remain open?


Can I still go for a walk or jog outdoors?


Can golf courses stay open?

Yes, assuming participants comply with social distancing requirements (maintaining six feet of spacing) and there are no groups of more than 10 at such facility.

Can leaders and employees from religious institutions still stream religious services or travel to provide religious counseling?


Can food cultivation, livestock, farming, and fishing operations continue?


Can homeless shelters, food pantries, and domestic violence victim’s shelters remain open?


Can hotels remain open?

Yes, to the extent that individuals may stay in rooms or get food that may be delivered or carryout. Conferences and banquets with seated dining in the hotel would not be allowed.

Is there a limitation on the number of people that can be in a public gathering?

Yes – 10 people. A mass gathering that brings together or is likely to bring together 10 people is prohibited by Governor’s Executive Order

As long as there is 10 people or less then we’ll all be okay right?

If you are in a group in a single room or confined or enclosed space of 10 or less people should:
Preserve social distancing of six feet between people; and
Follow all other health recommendations and regulations

Are mortuary, cremation, and burial services allow to continue?

Yes, but any related funeral services should comply with the 10 person limitation on public gatherings.

Can my attorney’s office stay open?


Can my accountant’s office stay open?


I am closing on a new house next week, does this order require my realtor and the title company to be closed?


Can my insurance agent’s office remain open?


Can governing bodies for cities and the County still convene to perform their duties?

Yes, although social distancing requirements should be observed. The Kansas Open Meetings Act remains in force.

My water heater broke and flooded my basement. Does this order require plumbers to be closed down?

No. Plumbers, electricians, lawn care and landscaping, painting, and other trades and service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other Essential Businesses may continue to operate under this order.

Does this order halt residential or commercial construction?


Does this order stop road repairs or ongoing bridge replacements?


Can the library be open?


Can automobile repair shops remain open?


Can bicycle repair shops remain open?


Does this order require arcades and video game stores to close?


Are pawn shops allowed to remain open?

Yes, as long as they maintain the social distancing requirements (maintain six feet of spacing from another person)

Can tattoo businesses remain open?


Can bail bonds business continue to remain open?


Are pharmacies required to close?

No, they can remain open

Are massage businesses able to remain open?


Does this order require adult entertainment establishments to close?


Can movie theaters remain open?


Can a home cleaning service continue to operate?


Are home health care providers required to cease operations?


Can direct service providers for individuals with development disabilities continue to operate?


Can court-ordered guardians and conservators leave their homes to perform guardianship and conservatorship duties?


Can I take my pet to the veterinarian?


Can pet stores remain open?


Can general clothing stores remain open?


Can a clothing store that specializes in providing clothing to Essential Businesses (e.g., scrubs, uniforms to first responders) remain open?


Are bouncy house and trampoline parks required to close?


I am in the military (National Guard/Reserves) and work on base. Does this order prevent me from going to work?

No, this order does not affect United States Armed Forces personnel and operations.

Can I check in on my elderly neighbor to ensure that they are okay?


Can liquor stores remain open?


Can I go to a public park?

Yes, but use of playground equipment is discouraged. Follow all closures posted by any of the Cities.

Can an environmental testing laboratory for drinking water, pollutants or related matters continue to operate?


Can foreign language interpreters and sign language interpreters continue to operate?


Can car dealerships remain open?


Can automobile repair supplies companies remain open?


I’m on probation for a criminal or traffic offense? Am I still required to report?

This order would not impact any requirements for individuals to report for probation matters. Please contact your probation officer to determine your reporting requirements.

Can food trucks continue to operate?

Yes, but the food truck company should not allow the food and/or beverage to be consumed on-site, or at any other gathering site.

Are swimming pools and water parks allowed to operate?


Can landfill facilities continue to operate?


Can utilities providers remain open?


Are public transit services, such as OCCK City-Go allowed to continue to operate?


Would a restaurant supplies company be allowed to remain open?

Yes, because the business would provide Essential Business (restaurants) with supplies necessary to remain in operation.

Can I drive my elderly relative who does not drive to their medical appointment?


Are hearing aid centers essential healthcare?


Are retail stores that sell diabetic shoe fittings and insoles an essential business?


Is a marketing company considered a professional/essential service?


Are stores that sell educational supplies that are utilized by home school parents essential?


Can a store get into legal trouble for not closing?

Russell County expects individuals and businesses to voluntarily comply. Reports of persons violating the order should NOT be reported to 911. The health department is working on a reporting form and will post it to thewebsite. Businesses that repeatedly violate the order may be closed by the Health Officer.

Can small church groups under 10 continue to meet?


Are tax preparer’s professional essential services?


Do recovery groups such as AA count as healthcare?


Does this stay-at-home order also provide a possibility for stay-in-your car activities?

Yes, as long as you stay in your car and are not congregating in a group as intended by the order.

Are car washes and detailers essential?


Would places that exclusively sell personal protection items (e.g., firearms, knives, and ammunition) be able to remain open?


Is ride sharing (Uber, Lyft) public transportation?


Are alternative medicine shops or clinics healthcare?

No, unless the FDA has approved these alternative medicines for some purpose.

Do businesses that shop for or deliver groceries, food, beverages, goods or services directly to residences able to continue to fulfill online orders?

Yes, as long as they maintain the social distancing requirements.

What about the departments within an educational institution that are not directly involved in facilitating distance learning? Are those employees to remain at home or is it up to the employers to require all employees to continue to work?

They can remain open as long as social distancing is observed. If any of these employees can telecommute, that would be optimal.

How are grocery stores able to operate since they are regularly more than 10 people there?

People generally visit grocery stores solo, as a pair, or as a family. They are spaced around the store far enough apart to maintain the 6 feet recommendation. People shopping in a grocery store is not considered a “gathering” because they are not in close proximity for more than a few moments. People passing by each other in a grocery aisle is safer than sitting in a room together for an extended period of time.

Are hobby stores (JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby) essential?


Are tobacco and vaping stores essential?


What measures does the order expect Essential Business to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19?


Where possible, Essential Businesses should:

1. Designate 6 ft of spacing between employees and customers

2. Make hand sanitizer, anti-microbial soap and other sanitizing products available to employees and customers


3. Have separate operating hours for vulnerable populations

4. Post information online or on the business about how best to reach the business and how services can be provided remotely


Click the link below to listen to the KRSL interview on COVID-19  Explained -  with Dr. Tyrel Somers and Russell County Health Nurse Paula Bitter.

KRSL Interview - 3-18-2020

Govenor Laura Kelly


     Russell County Health Department Press Release:



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kansas Department of Health and Environment along with the Russell County Health Department are closely monitoring the coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, closely.  At this time, there are no cases in Russell County or the surrounding counties.  But Russell County staff are vigilant about this situation.


Here is what we do know:


The 2019 novel COVID-19 is a newly identified virus strain at the end of 2019.  There is little known about this new virus, but it is known to cause severe illness and deaths in some people.  The outbreak first started in Wuhan, China, but cases have been identified around the world including the United States.  The first case in the United States was announced January 21, 2020.  The state of Kansas reported its first positive case on March 7, 2020. 


On March 12, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued an emergency declaration in the state in response to COVID-19.  According to KDHE, a man in his 70s is the state’s first COVID-19 death related death.  Testing performed post-mortem came back positive for COVID-19.  He was a resident of a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County.  KDHE has also identified four patients from Johnson County who have tested presumptive positive.  According to KDHE, one of the patients traveled to the northeastern part of the United States while the other three had traveled to a conference in Florida.  On Friday, March 13, 2020, Wesley Medical Center in Wichita reported its first case.  The man, who is in his 70s, is a resident of Butler county had recently traveled outside of the United States.  Health officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Sedgwick are reaching out to those might have been in contact with him.  This brings the total of cases in the State of Kansas to six.


People should exercise vigilance when attending large public gatherings, particularly those people over the age of 60 and those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions.  Many events and gatherings have been cancelled.  The Russell Regional Hospital has limited visitors.  Homestead and Wheatland has also implemented a screening process for visitors. 


This is an ongoing situation and information is changing rapidly. For the latest update, visit or you can email  KDHE also has a dedicated telephone line which is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The telephone number is 1-866-534-3463 with non-English capabilities.


What to do if you suspect COVID-19? 


Patients without symptoms who have traveled to a county with a CDC travel advisory in the last 14 days should contact the Russell County Health Department at 785-483-6433, or the KDHE epidemiology hotline,

1-877-427-7317.  You may also email


Patients that are symptomatic (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing) and have RECENT travel to a county with a CDC travel advisory should contact the Russell County Health Department or KDHE immediately.  Do not visit the clinic without notifying the clinic first to ensure proper protocols are followed to contain the potential spread of the disease. 


What can you do to avoid getting COVID-19?


If you are traveling, follow the CDC’s guidance at or


Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent COVID-19:


Wash your hands often with soap and water.  If not available, use hand sanitizer.


Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.


Avoid contact with people who are sick


Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.


Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.


Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.


How is COVID-19 treated?


There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19.  Most people with mild COVID-19 illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting and taking pain and fever medications.  There are some cases that may develop a worsening illness that may require medical care or hospitalization.



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