Mayor Lucas, Dr. Archer address questions at Sixth District Zoom meeting
By Tyler Schneider
Representatives from Kansas City’s Sixth District hosted the first ever ‘Second Fridays Meeting’ via Zoom on May 8.
The morning session was virtually attended by the public and many of the region’s key decision makers, including Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City Health Department Director, Dr. Rex Archer, Sixth District Councilman, Kevin McManus, and Sixth District Councilwoman At-Large, Andrea Bough.
Dr. Archer raised concern over a recent outbreak at a meat packing plant in St. Joseph that has resulted in at least 66 confirmed cases to date.
“We are woefully behind on containing that outbreak, especially when you add certain language barriers and when you add groups that are suspicious of the government — groups that you’ll have to develop a rapport with in order to get any contact and tracing [data] from them,” Archer said.
Mixed messages from the White House are only complicating matters further, Archer explained. His message was clear: now is certainly not a time to ease up on COVID-19 precautions.
“Forty percent of people who get this disease don’t know they’re sick and don’t have symptoms. We probably have around 10 unidentified cases for every confirmed case,” Archer said.
With the majority of KC businesses set to resume some form of business operations by May 15, Archer took a hard line on the importance of wearing masks in public, maintaining proper social distancing protocol and routine sanitization of public spaces.
“You shouldn’t go to a business that doesn’t care enough about you to not follow those guidelines,” Archer said. “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.”
Lucas took the baton from Archer and lightened the mood with a joke before addressing more serious matters.
“Sixth District, you’re a special place. I very rarely do Zoom meetings from my house,” Lucas said with a grin. “In this district, you are sandwiched between a lot of other communities and face your own unique challenges as a result.”
Lucas didn’t sugarcoat the realities of the current situation.
“As we open to the extent that we do, we are going to make sure to be as efficient as possible,” Lucas said. “It is responsible to look ahead a number of months. We will be dealing with this for a while.”
“In terms of making sure that we’re not overspending on certain funds, I think we’ve made it very clear to our departments that we need to try to preserve resources in order to survive this crisis. That is really going to be the name of the game, probably for the next year,” he added.