COVID case numbers continue to drop around Kansas City as ‘triple-demic’ wanes

COVID case numbers continue to drop around Kansas City as ‘triple-demic’ wanes

Updated: 5 days, 14 hours, 10 minutes, 40 seconds ago

COVID-19 cases are down in the metro this week as national trends show the “triple-demic” of flu, RSV and COVID-19 hospitalizations waning around the country.

“We’ve been seeing a drop in those numbers, really since early to mid-December,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at The University of Kansas Health System in a Monday news briefing.

“We’ve been doing pretty good as a nation but also as a health system. We were reporting numbers that were quite high, higher than we’ve seen for quite some time, but those numbers dropped off.”

Here’s the latest COVID-19 data in the Kansas City area.

What does Kansas City’s COVID-19 data look like this week?

Local health departments reported 895 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, down from 1,090 the previous week. That brings the metro’s seven-day average down to around 128 new cases per day, compared to around 156 per day the previous week.

Since many people are taking COVID tests at home, which aren’t publicly recorded, experts say real case totals are likely anywhere from two to five times higher than what data shows.

The state of Missouri is no longer reporting death counts at the county level. Johnson County reported seven new deaths since our last update, while Wyandotte County reported one. That brings the Kansas City metro area’s death total up to at least 4,454 since the pandemic began.

How are 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 the ICU yesterday with four on ventilators, the same totals as last week’s update. ICU and ventilator data was not available on Tuesday.

“We’re doing okay right now as far as the active COVID infections,” Hawkinson said. “Still a little bit higher than we would like, hopefully we can get these numbers down in 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 a “medium” level in the past week. This classification means that the CDC recommends maintaining good ventilation, getting up to date on your vaccines and boosters, and wearing a mask if you are immunocompromised or indoors with someone who is.

Clay, Platte, Jackson and Johnson counties remained at a “high” transmission level of COVID-19 in the past week, while Wyandotte County dropped to a “substantial” transmission level. Both of these rankings mean that your risk of catching COVID-19 in public is elevated due to the robust 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, which are available at clinics around the metro. These boosters offer protection from both the original COVID-19 and several strains of the omicron variant.

The vaccine is also thought to be effective against the new XBB lineage. According to 17 researchers who wrote in to the New England Journal of Medicine on Dec. 21, “Persons who received the BA.5-containing bivalent booster had better neutralizing activity against all omicron subvariants (especially against BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1, and XBB) than those who received either one or two monovalent boosters.”

While this new variant is somewhat more evasive to antibodies than prior variants have been, the bivalent booster shot is still thought to provide some protection from the XBB strain.

Anyone who has received an initial COVID-19 vaccination, including children as young as five years old, can now get one of these new shots. They’re available at local health departments, clinics and pharmacies around the metro.

MARC data on local vaccination rates has not been updated since Wednesday, Jan. 4. The 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 does at 58.90%.

Do you have more questions about staying safe from COVID-19 in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com.

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