COVID-19 cases declined in Metro this week as national trends show the “triple demic” of influenza, RSV and COVID-19 hospitalizations declining across the country.
“We saw a drop in these numbers, really from early to mid-December,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System said at a news conference. on Monday.
“We are doing quite well as a nation but also as a health system. We were reporting numbers that were quite high, higher than we’ve seen in a while, but those numbers have gone down.”
Here is the latest COVID-19 data in the Kansas City area.
How is the Kansas City COVID-19 data this week?
Local health departments reported 895 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week, down from 1,090 the previous week. That brings Metro’s seven-day average to about 128 new cases per day, up from about 156 per day a week earlier.
As many people take COVID tests at home, which aren’t publicly recorded, experts say real case totals are likely two to five times higher than the data shows.
The state of Missouri no longer reports county-level death counts. Johnson County has reported seven new deaths since our last update, while Wyandotte County has reported one. That brings the Kansas City metro area death total to at least 4,454 since the start of the pandemic.
How are the hospitals holding up?
The University of Kansas health system is treating 30 patients with active COVID-19 infections, up from 27 patients last week. Six patients were in intensive care yesterday with four on ventilators, the same totals as last week’s update. ICU and ventilator data were not available on Tuesday.
“We’re doing well right now as far as active COVID infections go,” Hawkinson said. “Still a little higher than we’d like, hopefully we can bring those numbers down over the next seven to 10 days.”
MARC hospitalization data shows an average of 28 new hospitalizations per day in the Kansas City area, down from 32 last week.
What are the COVID-19 risk levels in the Kansas City area?
Johnson County fell to a “low” community level of COVID-19 while Clay, Platte, Jackson and Wyandotte counties remained at an “average” level for the past week. This rating means the CDC recommends maintaining good ventilation, staying up to date on vaccines and booster shots, and wearing a mask if you’re immunocompromised or in the home with someone who is.
Clay, Platte, Jackson and Johnson counties have remained at a “high” transmission level of COVID-19 over the past week, while Wyandotte County has dropped to a “substantial” transmission level. Both of these rankings indicate that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in public is high due to the high spread of the virus.
How vaccinated is the Kansas City area?
Part of Kansas City’s defense against the most active COVID-19 variants are the new bivalent booster shots, available at Metro clinics. These boosters offer protection from both the original COVID-19 and several strains of the omicron variant.
The vaccine is also believed to be effective against the new XBB lineage. According to 17 researchers writing to the New England Journal of Medicine Dec. 21, “People who received the bivalent booster containing BA.5 had better neutralizing activity against all omicron subvariants (especially against BA.2.75.2, BQ 1.1 and XBB) than those who received one or two monovalent boosters”.
While this new variant is somewhat more antibody evasive than previous variants, the bivalent booster is still thought to provide some protection from the XBB strain.
Anyone who has received a first vaccination against COVID-19, including children as young as five years old, can now receive one of these new vaccines. They are available at local health departments, clinics and Metro pharmacies.
MARC data on local vaccination rates has not been updated since Wednesday 4 January. Data shows that 65.89% of the population is fully vaccinated in the Kansas City region. Eastern Kansas has a higher vaccination rate, at 75.28%, than western Missouri at 58.90%.
Have more questions about staying safe from COVID-19 in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at [email protected].