KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Kansas added nearly 700 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman urged residents to continue practicing "anti-contagion policies" to prevent further spread of the virus.
Norman said those policies include mask wearing and social distancing and could include school and business closures.
The secretary cited a study that says, left unabated, COVID-19 can spread at a fast pace, with cases increasing 38% per day.
However, with mask mandates in effect, another study showed a 1% to 2% decrease in the infection rate per day, Norman said.
The study also revealed a nine-fold decrease in the per capita mortality rate of the virus in countries where mask wearing is a cultural norm or government policy.
"This question has been asked and answered. Masks work," Norman said.
Norman asked Kansans even though "the return to normal has people gathering much more," that they practice proper safety precautions.
"Now more than ever it is essential for you to take precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Norman said. "You are your own preparedness. It's time to get back to the basic practice of social distancing. Wear a mask in public. Practice good hand hygiene. Stay at home when you're sick."
Wednesday's count of 678 new cases in the state is the third-highest in a single day during the pandemic.
Watch the press conference below.