Clay County Public Health Center amended the current emergency order around 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17. New restrictions will go into effect Monday, Nov. 23.

“COVID-19 has resulted in 8,049 reported positive cases of COVID-19 in Clay County, Missouri and the deaths of 120 Clay County residents,” the amendment states. “... both the number of positive cases and the percentage of individuals tested with positive test results within Clay County have increased greatly and significantly in the past weeks.”

The amendment continues that regional public health directors were advised by KC metro hospital chief medical officers that the uncontrolled rise in COVID-19 infections has created a “dangerously low” number of available physical care beds in local hospital facilities and significant staffing shortages for health personnel.

“(It is the) county’s responsibility to provide for and ensure the health, safety, security, and welfare of the people of Clay County, requiring that masks or other face coverings be worn in public, limiting the size of public gatherings, ensuring physical distancing, and placing certain other limitations on activities are all measures that can be taken to slow and reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the amendment states.

In doing so, CCPHC hopes to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and help increase the space in area hospitals, who are in critical need.

“In order to provide consistency in the metro and join regional efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the updates are in line with orders announced earlier this week by the city of Kansas City and Jackson and Wyandotte counties,” states a release by CCPHC.

Notable changes from Clay County’s previous order include:

• Venues serving food and/or drink indoors must operate at 50% capacity and close by 10 p.m. No groups of more than 10 people are allowed indoors or outdoors.

• Gyms, fitness, and recreational centers must also remain at 50% capacity or less and masks are required for everyone inside.

• Masks are now required outdoors when physical distancing (six feet) cannot be maintained from anyone outside your household.

• The age exemption for wearing a mask is lowered to those 5 years of age and younger.

• Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. This is defined as groups of individuals, who are not members of the same household, congregated together for a common or coordinated social, community, or leisure purpose.

• Gatherings of 10 or fewer are allowed, with use of physical distancing between members of different households.

• Prohibited gatherings do not include non-event-based regular commercial, nonprofit, or educational activity by workers, students, or customers of businesses.

Exceptions for gatherings with more than 10 people can be approved by CCPHC. Submission forms can be found at clayhealth.com by noon on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

This is a developing story, details will be added as they become available. A full copy of the amended emergency order is attached to this story online at mycouriertribune.com.

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