Saturday, April 04, 2020

Kansas Statewide Stay Home Order

The Governor just announced that she is establishing a statewide "stay at home" order that will be in effect from Monday, March 30th through at least Sunday, April 19th. While the goal is to limit interaction as much as possible, the order does exempt a number of necessary activities:

• Travel to work at an essential business
• Trips to get supplies like food and medicine
• Travel to get medical care
• Travel that’s necessary to care for a child, family member, pet…
• Exercising outdoors (as long as you stay in groups of less than 10 and maintain social distancing)

EDITED:  If you're wondering about the definition of an "essential business," she is using the list of "Essential Functions" that was established in order 20-15. However, in the latest order, she adds a lot more explanations and examples that makes it easier to tell what falls under those functions. Also, the state has set up an email address to field questions from people who are not sure if they are in an essential business or not:

The full order can be found on the Office of the Governor’s Executive Orders web page: 

COVID 19 / Coronavirus

First case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) identified in Ottawa County

The Ottawa County Health Department received notification March 12, 2020 confirming Ottawa Counties first positive case of COVID-19. Ottawa County Health Department is working closely with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment during this time.

The individual is currently maintaining in-home isolation and is stable. The Ottawa County Health Department has identified all contacts and will monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms. No further information will be given on the patient.

Our goal continues to prevent and limit exposure to our population. 

If you develop respiratory symptoms (i.e. cough, fever, shortness of breath) or are a potential direct contact of someone with a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19:

• Stay at home away from others in the public in order to prevent spreading infection.

• Tylenol is the preferred medication for fever rather than ibuprofen.

• Over-the-counter cough syrup is satisfactory for cough symptoms.

• Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

• If your symptoms worsen, please call your physician for direction on how best to proceed. ALWAYS CALL before going to any doctor’s office, ER, or clinic. Please inform them of your symptoms when calling.

Most cases can be treated at home with periodic follow-up by phone. Whether it is influenza, COVID-19, or mild bacterial bronchitis the treatment will be the same.

Additionally, contact the Ottawa County Health Department at 785-392-2822 to report any travel or a potential exposure with a positive COVID-19 patient. We will be able to provide guidance and education based on the information provided.

Ottawa County residents can stay informed by visiting and the Ottawa County Health Department Facebook page. If you have any questions, please contact the Ottawa County Health Department or visits


The Ottawa County Department of Emergency Management 

Ottawa County Emergency Management has a special Weather Radio program which offers Midland WR-120 Weather Radios for a special price of $25.00 each.  Ottawa County Emergency Management will also provide free programming of weather radios new or old if brought to the courthouse.  The new Midland WR-120 Weather Radios are available to everyone and can be purchased at the following locations:

Ottawa County Emergency Management Office - Programming & radios

Bennington City Hall - radios only

Delphos City Hall - radios only

Tescott City Hall - radios only


Coordinator & LEPC Vice Chairperson: Marie V. Ballou

Deputy CoordinatorSheriff Keith Coleman

 Mailing Address:

307 N. Concord, Ste 109

Minneapolis, Kansas 67467


Office Telephone 785-392-3600

Cell phone number:  785-392-7096

Fax number: 785-392-3605 


The Ottawa County Emergency Management Department exists to help citizens and local governments mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters. 

Our responsibilities include: developing and maintaining the Ottawa County Emergency Operations Plan, coordinating responses of public and private assistance during disasters and resource coordination following disasters. 

We are available to speak to any civic group, public or private business, school, etc. on emergency preparedness issues.


Siren Warnings for Ottawa County: 

Sirens are designed to be heard outdoors. If your residence is near a siren site, you may be able to hear the siren inside, but because of insulated walls, closed windows, air conditioners running or television and radio noise, this is not always the case. If weather is threatening, you should have a radio, television or weather radio on to monitor the situation and not relay solely on hearing the siren. If the tornado siren is activated, you should take cover immediately in a basement or storm shelter. Know where your local storm shelters are located if you do not have one in or near your home. If these are not available, seek cover in a room or closet towards the center of the house or building, preferably one with no windows. Take along a battery operated radio for weather updates and for information on when danger is passed. 
When storm clouds begin to gather, the sky becomes threatening and the National Weather Service issues advisories concerning turbulent weather conditions, area volunteer storm spotters, as well as city and county law enforcement personnel are out surveying the sky for possible tornadoes. 
If a tornado is spotted or if the National Weather Service issues a warning for Ottawa County, the outdoor sirens in the affected area are activated. The Ottawa County Sheriff’s office dispatcher can activate all of the sirens in Minneapolis and surrounding towns.  The tornado warning siren is a SOLID THREE MINUTE BLAST. Please remember that NO ALL CLEAR siren will be sounded. If a second three minute siren is heard, that would indicate that another tornado has been spotted and you should remain in your shelter area. 
Sirens used for fire alerts are usually several shorter blasts which may vary somewhat in different towns. Most towns sound the sirens at noon each day. This is a good way to test the equipment on a regular basis. A National Security alert siren is three wailing blasts then a solid three minute blast. 
Weather Radios are valuable tools and can awaken you with a loud alarm when severe weather is in the area. Every household, school or business should have a Weather Radio set in the alert mode at all times. They are relatively inexpensive and could save your life. The weather radios also have battery backup, in case of power failure, and the battery should be changed out periodically to maintain reliability.
Miscellaneous Information

Be Ready to Respond to Emergencies 

Preparedness is the best prevention. Here are some things that you can do in order to be “Ready to Respond” to any emergency. 
1.    Practice Your Emergency Plan at home and at work. What is your plan for tornadoes? For Floods? For chemical spills?
2.    Put together a disaster kit containing:
  • - Plastic containers of water

    - Canned food and other non-perishable food

    - A complete change of clothing and shoes for each person in your household

    - Battery operated radio with extra batteries

    - Flashlight and batteries

    - Non-electric can opener

    - Utility knife    

    - Matches in waterproof container or butane lighter

    - Tools to shut off utilities

    - Tape, paper, and pencil

    - Plastic sheeting

    - Soap and liquid detergent      

    - Toilet paper

    - Personal hygiene items

    - First Aid kit

3.      Inspect your utilities. Have the proper tools nearby in case you need to shut them off, and reacquaint yourself with the procedures on how to turn them off.
4.      Check your fire extinguishers. Are they stored in the right places? Test your smoke detectors monthly.
5.      Keep your contact information up-to-date and keep copies in your Disaster Kit, car, purse/wallet and with a neighbor or relative.
6.      Where are your important papers? Birth certificates, marriage certificates, legal documents, financial information, passports and other irreplaceable documents should be kept in a waterproof, fireproof container. 
Your local Emergency Management office has free brochures about disaster preparations, assembling a disaster kit etc.