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Slight virus rate improvement locally – but still high

By The Examiner staff

The 14-day positive COVID-19 test percentage continues to slowly dip in Eastern Jackson County, though the area remains in the “red” status of significant community spread.

According to the Jackson County Health Department, the rolling 14-day average – often used to help indicate the virus’ spread – was 14.8 percent as of Monday morning. In early August, that figure had risen to more than 17 percent, and by mid-August it had dropped below 16 percent.

The department has said it recommends schools use remote learning until that average drops below 10 percent, though Independence and some other metro area districts decided to start at least some of their students with in-person classes last week and other districts are scheduled to do so next week.

The department, which covers the county outside of Kansas City, has confirmed more than 700 new cases of COVID-19 in the past two weeks, for a total of 5,351 cases since the pandemic began. The case total in Eastern Jackson County also includes 11 deaths in the past two weeks, for a total of 77 deaths during the pandemic, and more than 1,700 presumed recoveries.

Health Department officials have also confirmed a positive case from a person who attended a mixed martial arts event Aug. 14 at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence. The department said the number of possible exposures from there is unknown, though Friday marked drop-off date – when a potentially exposed person can stop self-isolation after a particular event.

The department also confirmed four initial cases from an Aug. 2 wedding in rural northeastern Jackson County, with no additional cases thus far.

The highest ZIP Code testing rates in The Examiner coverage area, according to the Health Department:

• 64057 (southeastern Independence); 181 positive cases per 1,000 residents tested

• 64064 (northern Lee’s Summit); 179 positive cases per 1,000 residents tested

• 64050 (northern Independence and Sugar Creek); 177 positive cases per 1,000 residents tested

• 64055 (southern Independence); 166 positive cases per 1,000 residents tested

• 64014 (eastern Blue Springs); 165 positive cases per 1,000 residents tested

• 64081 (southern and western Lee’s Summit); 163 positive cases per 1,000 residents tested

• 64052 (southwest Independence); 161 positive cases per 1,000 residents tested

The Kansas City Health Department has reported, as of Aug. 24, 8,466 cases, including 96 deaths. Metrowide, as of Sunday afternoon, there were 32,284 cases and 474 deaths, according to a database maintained by the Mid-America Regional Council.