Coronavirus Rumor Control

The purpose of this page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. Do your part to the stop the spread of disinformation by doing 3 easy things; don’t believe the rumors, don’t pass them along and go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the local, state, and federal (COVID-19) response.
Always go to trusted sources of information like  or or your state and local government’s official websites, their  or social media accounts for instructions and information specific to your community.

Myth (or concern):  “Only 45 people have been tested!!!!  That’s not enough!!!  It’s an outrage!!!

Truth:  For a valid statistical analysis you would be correct. 45 out of 35,000+ would not provide you much confidence. However remember we are sampling sick people that are showing severe respiratory symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 disease.  In that regard we are testing everyone that presents with the symptoms and qualifies for testing  under the prescribed protocols (aka PUI Criteria).  Hopefully more testing methods will be approved and the materials to run the tests will be sent to Cowley County and we can expand the testing to larger groups soon.  Even so you would still need to be diagnosed as ill to be tested.  Remember a test today that indicates you do not have the disease does not mean you won’t contract the illness next week, month or in the future.  Still no cure and no vaccine for this illness.  3/30/2020

Myth:  With the issuance of the governor’s executive order 20-16, I will now have to carry a card or documentation to prove that I am allowed to leave the home for approved purposes (work, medical appointments, etc), especially if I am leaving Cowley County.

Truth:   No individual leaving their home in order to perform an (essential) activity or function allowed under this order shall be required to carry or present any letter, identification card, or other paper proving that they are allowed to leave their home. (Taken directly from executive order 20-16).  3/30/2020

Myth: Farmers and ranchers in Cowley County have been banned from burning fields for the near future.

Truth:  A request was put out by KDHE and KDA requesting voluntary limitation of burning during this time due to the possible repercussions for those suffering from the coronavirus illness and the upper respiratory issues that go along with that.  This quote from Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam summarizes it well.  ““Prescribed burning is a valuable land management tool in the efforts to fight invasive species and maximize land productivity, and this request should not be interpreted as an indictment of the practice of burning,” Beam said. “However, the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have created a situation that calls for reducing burned acres this spring.”.  3/30/2020

Myth:  “I visited with a hospital employee yesterday and they said there are people coming in with symptoms of coronavirus but since there are no tests available to the general public, they are being sent home to quarantine.  A fellow employee knows someone who went to the health dept. with symptoms and no tests available, so was sent home.”

Truth:  If a patient meets the criteria for COVID-19 symptoms, they are being tested.  Patients who do not meet criteria for acute or critical care are being sent home to quarantine and await applicable test results.  Also, see the above question and answers for further clarification.  3/26/2020

Myth:  Arkansas City Fire/EMS has been given a ‘shelter in place’ order for 14 days at the fire station.

Truth:  No such order has been issued.  Ark City Fire/EMS are NOT staying at the fire station for 14 consecutive days.  3/25/2020

Myth:  Oklahoma is closing its borders at 11:59pm.

Truth:  Oklahoma is NOT closing its borders at 11:59, nor is that in the realm of possibilities. 3/25/2020

Myth:  They are no longer testing people for COVID-19 in Kansas.

Truth:  Testing has not ended in Kansas.  However, testing prioritization has changed based upon the guidance released on 3/23/2020 from KDHE.  The guidance states:    Testing Prioritization Change Due to widescale shortages of laboratory supplies and reagents, testing for COVID-19 at the state lab is being prioritized for public health purposes and urgent need. KDHE will be prioritizing specimens for COVID-19 testing based upon those who meet Kansas’ patient under investigation (PUI) criteria starting today, March 23. Those include: • Healthcare workers and first responders who have COVID-19 symptoms • Potential clusters of unknown respiratory illness, with priority given to long-term care facilities and healthcare facilities • Hospitalized patients with no alternative diagnosis • Individuals over the age of 60 who have symptoms of COVID-19 with priority given to people who reside in a nursing home, long-term care facility, or other congregate setting, and • Individuals with underlying health conditions that would be treated differently if they were infected with COVID-19.  3/25/2020

Myth:  The National Guard has been activated to help police the population and enforce quarantine.

Truth:  The National Guard is working with local, state, and federal governments to help distribute necessary medical equipment and needs to the individual counties.  Those who are a part of the National Guard will be working in civilian clothing and will likely not be distinguishable from the general public. 3/24/2020

Myth:  Restaurants and retail businesses in Cowley County must close.

Truth:  At this time, neither Governor Kelly nor our Public Health Officer have issued any orders to close any local businesses or restaurants.  While some have chosen to do so, that was of their own prerogative and they were not ordered to do so. 3/24/2020

Myth:  You need a letter or card from your employer to be able to drive to work.

Truth:  At this time, there is no need for any form of approval from local or state governments or your employer to drive to work or anywhere else in Cowley County. 3/24/2020

Myth:  Cowley County WIC offices are preparing to close and it is important to use your benefits prior to the closure or risk losing them.

Truth:  Some WIC offices in Sedgwick County (and perhaps other locations throughout the state) have consolidated to one main office during this time to try to control the spread of coronavirus.  At this time, there is no plan for the WIC offices in Cowley County to close.  We are adjusting the appointment schedules to limit the number of people in our waiting areas, but benefits are continuing as they normally would and there is no need to use up your benefits as soon as possible.  They are not being taken away. 3/24/2020

Myth:  There have been confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Cowley County, but we are not sharing that information with the public.

Truth:  At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Cowley County. 3/24/2020

Myth:  The Summit Street bridge in Arkansas City is closing temporarily in response to the potential for a coronavirus outbreak.

Truth:  There is no reason to close the bridge.  There are no plans to close that or any other bridges in Cowley County as a response to coronavirus. 3/24/2020

Myth:  The Public Health Officer is prohibiting travel between Kay County, Oklahoma and Cowley County.

Truth:  The Public Health Officer is concerned about travel between Kay County and Cowley County.  He is aware that many people live in one county, but work in the other.  That is part of normal, day to day business.  The concern is in those who are voluntarily making visits from one county to the other for leisure activities such as shopping and visiting friends/family.  Since the number of confirmed cases of COVID 19 is rising in Kay County, there is also an increased chance of person to person spread (meaning it was not a result of recent travel or other risk factors) of the illness.  In an effort to reduce that possibility, our Public Health Officer is asking those who do not have to travel for work or medical reasons to please stay home so we can continue to keep the illness from spreading.  3/24/2020

Myth:  If I need a mask to protect others when I have to go out but am ill, I can go to the hospital and they will provide me with one.

Truth:  The hospitals, as well as other health care facilities, are facing potential shortages in personal protective equipment (this includes masks) for their clinical needs.  They do not have spare materials to share with the general public.  If you are ill, we advise you to stay home and isolate yourself as much as possible.  If you have to go to a pharmacy or physician’s office, call ahead and inform them of your illness.  They will advise you of the best precautions to take.  Many pharmacies are now using drive up windows almost exclusively.  3/24/2020