Friday, May 29, 2020

Public Health Emergency Resolution

Russell County Residents


For further information regarding the COVID-19


Russell County Health Department


KDHE : Kansas Department of Health and Environment

WHO : World Health Organization

Governor of Kansas Executive Orders (ALL)

May 7, 2020  Reopening of Russell County Courthouse


Gov. Kelly's Stay at Home Executive Order April 30, 2020 Phase 1 Starting April 30 , 2020


April 30, 2020, Until further notice, the Russell County Commission meetings will be held at the 4-H Building, 702 Fairway Drive, Russell KS, 67665.  The meetings begin at 9:00 am on the first and third Mondays of each month.  The meetings are open to the public.  


Beginning Monday, May 4, 2020, the Russell County Courthouse Offices will be available by appointment only to conduct business.  A limit of 2 appointments per office at a time will be followed.  The Courthouse will remain closed to the general public.  If you don’t have an appointment you will not be allowed in the Courthouse.   

Please call the following departments to make your appointment:  

County Clerk/Election Office – 784-483-4641

County Treasurer’s Office – 785-483-2251 

Register of Deeds Office – 785-483-4641 

County Appraiser’s Office – 785-483-5551

County GIS/Mapping – 785-483-6650

County Attorney’s Office – 785-483-3119 

District Court – 785-483-5641 

County Administrator/HR Payroll Office -- 785-483-3418 or 785-483-6226.


April 16, 2020, Russell County Commission extend the closure of all County Offices to the public until May 3, 2020 and as long thereafter as the Stay at Home Order issued by Kansas Governor Kelly remains in effect. 


Gov. Kelly's Stay at Home Executive Order April 16, 2020 Extended to May 3, 2020


April 2, 2020

Unofficial Minutes

Special Meeting of the Russell County Commission


At 1:00 pm Don Boxberger made the motion to open the special meeting.  Steve Reinhardt seconded and Aaron Steinert approved.  The purpose of this meeting is discussion on the ongoing COVID-19 emergency and the extension of the closure of Russell County Offices.

Those present for the meeting were:  Administrator John Fletcher, County Attorney Dan Krug, Clerk Mary Nuss, Sheriff Fred Whitman, Russell County Health Nurse Paula Bitter, GIS Director Chris Brown, Payroll Clerk Connie Schinkus and David Elliott from KRSL radio station.


Administrator, John Fletcher informed the Commission that beginning April 6, 2020, Courthouse offices will start rotating employees. 


Paula Bitter, County Health Nurse, stated that as of today there are 552 positive cases in the State of Kansas.  That is up 70 from yesterday.  There are no positive cases in Russell County.  10 cases have come back negative and there are 8 people that are quarantined.  The KDHE is predicting that cases in the Eastern part of the State will peak about April 24th, but thought Russell County would peak later than that.


After this update, Don Boxberger made the motion to extend the closure of all County Offices to the public until April 19, 2020 and as long thereafter as the Stay at Home Order issued by Kansas Governor Kelly remains in effect.  Aaron Steinert seconded and Steve Reinhardt approved.


The April 6, 2020 Commission meeting has been canceled.  The Russell County Commissioners will hold their next meeting at the Russell County 4-H building on April 20, 2020 beginning at 9:00 am.  This meeting will be open to the public.


At 1:16 pm Don Boxberger made the motion to adjourn the meeting.  Steve Reinhardt seconded and Aaron Steinert approved.


 Gov. Kelly's Stay at Home Order March 30th to April 19th, 2020



March 24, 2020
Russell County Health Department
189 W. Luray Street
Russell, Ks 67665
Telephone: 785-483-6433
Fæx: 785-483-3118

SUBJECT: Russell County Emergency Public Health Order 20200324

REFERENCE: RSA 65-119 and KSA 65-129b

WHEREAS, the Local Health Officer is authorized and required, pursuant to KSA 65-119 and KSA 65-129b to immediately exercise and maintain supervision over known or suspected cases of any infectious or contagious disease during its continuance, and to issue orders seeing that all such cases are properly handled and that the provisions of the Kansas public health law as to isolation, quarantine, and disinfection are duly enforced; and

WHEREAS, the Local Health Officer is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and is authorized to prohibit public gatherings when necessary for the control of any and all infectious or contagious diseases, pursuant to KSA 65-129b; and

WHEREAS on March 16, 2020, the Chairman ofthe Board of County Commissioners of Russell
County, Kansas found that a disaster occurred on the threat thereof was imminent within Russell County, Kansas as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the confirmed outbreak and person-to-person spread of COVID-19 in the United States and Kansas; and

WHEREAS, COVID-19, a respiratory disease that spreads easily from person-to-person and may result in severe illness or death, has been confirmed in Kansas resulting in severe illness and at least two deaths to date in Kansas; and

WHEREAS, to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the United Stated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Russell County Local Health Officer, all recommend implementation of community mitigation strategies to increase containment of the virus, including cancellation of large gatherings and social distancing in smaller gatherings; and

WHEREAS, the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting epidemic in Kansas and Russell County continue to threaten the life and health of our citizens and visitors as well as the economy and remains a public health disaster affecting life, health, property, and the public peace.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDERED by the LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER, pursuant to the above authorities, that:

1. All large public gatherings of people in the County are prohibited. Large public gatherings are those with more than ten (10) people in attendance or anticipated to attend, both indoor and outdoor, except for governmental functions, judicial functions, and all deemed essential industries as defined by U.S. Homeland Security.

2. Religious services, funerals, and memorial services, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, are authorized to have more than ten (10) people in attendance but must ensure appropriate social distancing of at least six (6) feet between non-cohabitating members.

3. All restaurants, dining facilities, bars, taverns, clubs auditorium, bowling alleys, fitness centers, swimming pools, movie theaters, and any public gathering locations or special event in Russell County, Kansas are hereby ordered closed to the public effective at 12:01 on March 25, 2020 until April 6, 2020, except that any such establishment may continue to provide carryout, drive-through, and delivery food and beverage services. In all areas, establishments must follow the guidance provided by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal, state, and local public health officials for social distancing and infection control measures.

4. This order may be supplanted or modified as required for the effective and efficient management and control of the Coronavirus epidemic in the County by Further order or direction of the Russell County Board of Public Health or by the Russell County Local Health Officer.


Paula J Bitter, BSN/RN  & Dr. Tyrel Somers


March 19, 2020 Russell County Commissioners

Russell County Board of Health

The Russell County Commissioners are engaged in determining the local response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID - 19) and assessing the rapidly changing situation. We are relying on advice and expertise of the Russell County Health Department, Russell County Health Officer - Dr. Tyrel Somers, Russell County Attorney - Daniel Krug, and others, in making decisions in mitigating the contagion. We consider health, social and economic factors in determining our actions during these trying times. Not all of our actions in addressing this virus are, or may be popular, but we are dedicated to the health and safety of all of Russell County and its citizens. We would ask that you bear with us until this unfortunate situation passes and we return to some kind of "normalcy." Therefore, on the advice of Russell County Health Officials, Russell County will close all of its offices and departments to the public starting at 5:00 pm on Thursday March 19, 2020 for at least 15 days or until the Russell County Commissioners re-open to the public. Russell County personnel will continue to work in their respective office and will be available by phone, fax, or email. There is a drop box available on the North-West corner of the Russell County Courthouse where items can be dropped off or payments made to any Russell County Department. Someone will make sure it gets to the right department. If you have any questions, please call the respective office. The Russell County Landfill will remain open at this time. The Russell County Health Department will remain open with limited services, but asks that persons call the office before coming in. The Russell County Sheriffs Office will remain open, but will be limiting non-essential services and will no longer allow inmate visitation.


Russell County Press Release

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kansas Department of Health and Environment along with the Russell County Health Department are closely monitoring the coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, closely.  At this time, there are no cases in Russell County or the surrounding counties.  Russell County staff are vigilant about this situation.

Here is what we do know:

The 2019 novel COVID-19 is a newly identified virus strain at the end of 2019.  There is little known about this new virus, but it is known to cause severe illness and deaths in some people.  The outbreak first started in Wuhan, China, but cases have been identified around the world including the United States.  The first case in the United States was announced January 21, 2020.  The state of Kansas reported its first positive case on March 7, 2020.  

On March 12, 2020, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued an emergency declaration in the state in response to COVID-19.  According to KDHE, a man in his 70s is the state’s first COVID-19 death related death.  Testing performed post-mortem came back positive for COVID-19.  He was a resident of a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County.  KDHE has also identified four patients from Johnson County who have tested presumptive positive.  According to KDHE, one of the patients traveled to the northeastern part of the United States while the other three had traveled to a conference in Florida. 

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Wesley Medical Center in Wichita reported its first case.  The man, who is in his 70s, is a resident of Butler county had recently traveled outside of the United States.  Health officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Sedgwick are reaching out to those might have been in contact with him.  This brings the total of cases in the State of Kansas to six.

People should exercise vigilance when attending large public gatherings, particularly those people over the age of 60 and those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions.  Many events and gatherings have been cancelled.  The Russell Regional Hospital has limited visitors.  Homestead and Wheatland has also implemented a screening process for visitors.  
This is an ongoing situation and information is changing rapidly. For the latest update, visit or you can email  KDHE also has a dedicated telephone line which is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The telephone number is 1-866-534-3463 with non-English capabilities. 

What to do if you suspect COVID-19?  

Patients without symptoms who have traveled to a county with a CDC travel advisory in the last 14 days should contact the Russell County Health Department at 785-483-6433, or the KDHE epidemiology hotline, 1-877-427-7317.  You may also email 
Patients that are symptomatic (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing) and have RECENT travel to a county with a CDC travel advisory should contact the Russell County Health Department or KDHE immediately.  Do not visit the clinic without notifying the clinic first to ensure proper protocols are followed to contain the potential spread of the disease.  

What can you do to avoid getting COVID-19?

If you are traveling, follow the CDC’s guidance at or  Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent COVID-19:
Wash your hands often with soap and water.  If not available, use hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid contact with people who are sick
Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
How is COVID-19 treated?

There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19.  Most people with mild COVID-19 illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting and taking pain and fever medications.  There are some cases that may develop a worsening illness that may require medical care or hospitalization.

On March 16, 2020 at the regular Russell County Commissioners meeting the Russell County Commissioners approved Resolution #2020-02 – COVID 19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY click on the link at the top of this page to see the Resolution.

Russell County is encouraging individuals to follow KDHE and the CDC recommendations.

The Russell County Treasurer’s Office is very concerned about the impact COVID-19 has on our office and how we will serve the public. I am encouraging folks to do their renewals online as much as possible OR MAIL THEM IN, we process the SAME DAY! We also have a drop box located on the northwest corner of the building for ANY BUSINESS you might have at the courthouse. This month those with the last name starting with ‘B’ HAVE TAGS THAT EXPIRE the 31st so, don’t wait until the last day when we are VERY BUSY and MAY have to restrict access into the office. Those that have newly purchased vehicles have 60 DAYS from purchase date to come in SO, PLEASE do not come in unless you absolutely have to.

We want to do our part in keeping staff healthy as well as doing our part in serving the community. I am very cognizant of your needs and we will continue to serve you the very best we can! Please do not visit the office if you are sick. We will do our best to serve you - Please call with any questions 785-483-2251. Our hours are 8 am-5 pm Monday- Friday.

Russell County will try to keep the public advised of situations as they arise through county offices, social media sites and web pages. 



**** Russell County Burn Ban ****

Effective December, 4th, 2017 


NOW ON THIS 4th day of December, 2017, the Board of County Commissioners of Russell County, Kansas met in regular session with a quorum present.

WHEREAS, the grassland and croplands of Russell County, Kansas,form an important part of our economy, and provide for protection of watershed,forage for livestock, refuge for wildlife, and recreational opportunities.Wildfires endanger these resources, real and personal property, and the lives of residents and visitors in these areas. Extremely dry and windy weather conditions have created an extreme fire hazard in the grassland and cropland of Russell County,

Kansas. Fires have been reported throughout the county andhave caused substantial damage. Once started, these fires are difficult tocontrol and strain volunteer fire department and manpower and resources. Thefire danger is "extreme" in this county. The dry conditions and firedanger will continue unabated until sufficient rainfall occurs across the area.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY resolved, proclaimed, directed, and ordered by the Board of County Commissioners of Russell County, Kansas,pursuant to K.S.A. 48-932, that a state of local disaster emergency exists for the above reasons and that the following acts are prohibited within boundaries of this county by all citizens and visitors:

1) Careless use of smoking materials, including cigarettes,cigars and smoking pipes. The discarding of such objects shall be in a mannerto preclude fire threat from smoldering remains.

2) Building, maintaining, attending or using any open fire.Exemptions are stoves, fireplaces, campfires, and propane or charcoal barbequegrills that are contained in an upright fully covered grill in developed recreationalsites or residential areas.

3) Prescribed burning of all fence rows, fields, wild lands,ravines, trash and debris.

4) Outdoor use of all other fires including fireworks, forany reason.

A knowing and willful violation of this order shall constitute a class "A" misdemeanor according to K.S.A. 48-939, and any person convicted of such violation shall be punished as provided by law. Costs shall be incurred according to K.S.A.19-101e. The Russell County Clerk shall immediately notify Russell County's emergency management director, law enforcement officers, and fire officials of this order and shall also notify both print and radio representatives who normally cover Russell County.

This Proclamation shall be in full force and effect from and including December 4, 2017 until repealed by the Board of County Commissioners of Russell County, Kansas.



                                                                        BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

                                                                        OF RUSSELL COUNTY, KANSAS


** Notice to ALL Russell County Residents**

Effective Monday, November 5, 2012

Those located North of the Saline River will have their trash hauled by :

T & G Sanitation Service LLC

Contact # 785.345.4269 or 785.346.6247

This includes the cities of Lucas, Luray, Waldo, & Paradise.


Those located South of the Saline River will have their trash hauled by:

Chism Trash Service

Contact # 620.708.3299

This includes the cities of Gorham, Bunker Hill, & Dorrance.