Coffey County health officer resigns over mask mandate

Top health officer urged commissioners to follow the governor's mask mandate. After they opted out, he left his posts as health officer and coroner after serving in those roles for 15 years.

State News

December 4, 2020 - 3:54 PM

Photo by Celia Llopis Jepsen / Kansas News Service /

Coffey County’s top health officer, Dr. John Shell, resigned following a decision by the county commission to opt out of Gov. Laura Kelly’s mask mandate, reported the Coffey County Republican.

Shell was also the county’s health officer and coroner, and had been serving in those roles for 15 years.

Shell said, “I recommended to the commission that we follow the governor’s mandate as I felt it was best for our citizens. When they opted out I didn’t feel I could stand by that decision as it would be hypocritical to my stance. I had volunteered in that capacity for 15 years but didn’t feel I could support decisions which did not prioritize our citizen’s health.”

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