There are still no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Cowley County, but public health officer Tom Langer said Monday he is considering putting Kay County, Okla., on the travel restriction list.

That county, just south of Cowley, now has five confirmed cases, according to the Oklahoma Health Department as of Monday.

Langer said he’s hearing a lot of stories about Kay County residents coming into Cowley County to visit and to shop, and Cowley County residents going to Kay County, shopping in Ponca City and eating in their restaurants. 

“I don’t want to see it spread around the county. If it came up from Kay County, it would spread through Ark City and then Winfield and the rest of the county,” Langer said.

A spokesperson for the Kay County Health Department referred questions about the virus situation there to the state health department, which did not respond as of deadline Monday.

The isolation order issued in Cowley County calls for a 14-day self-quarantine for people who have traveled from certain at-risk countries and states, such as New York, Florida and California. Langer is considering adding Kay County to that list of locations.

The State of Kansas also has issued an isolation order and updated it Monday to include people who have been to Illinois and New Jersey.

Langer said on Monday he also spoke with area businesspeople Monday about the possibility of a lockdown here as shelter-at-home orders begin to appear in Kansas.

“We’re not looking at it,” Langer said, “but there’s a great deal of conversation about it in industry.” 

Several counties in northeast Kansas are imposing stay-at-home orders as the virus spreads in parts of that region. Sedgwick County is preparing such an order in case one is needed, the Wichita Eagle reported. There were still just two cases reported in Sedgwick County as of Monday afternoon.

Gov. Laura Kelly said a statewide stay-at-home order could become necessary, but currently a large majority of counties in Kansas were free of confirmed cases.

Langer said he hopes people will be able to work from home so industry is not seriously disrupted if The next two weeks could tell us where the coronavirus is going in Kansas, he added. “Hopefully we’ll keep it out of Cowley County.”

The county is still trying to deal with a high number of influenza cases, Langer said. The flu has been spiraling through 10-day cycles, he said, and he’s hoping it will be over by the end of March.


Newkirk Herald Journal Editor Everett Brazil, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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