Steady climb in local COVID-19 cases

By The Examiner staff

Eastern Jackson County recorded two of its three highest days of new COVID-19 cases last week, as the Jackson County Health Department reported 1,400 additional cases from last Monday. 

As of Monday morning, the department, which covers the county outside of Kansas City, has reported 12,148 total cases since the pandemic began, up from 10,725 a week earlier. That includes 217 cases confirmed on Wednesday and 216 on Friday.

The highest day in Eastern Jackson County has been 222 on July 29. The second-highest had been 209 on Aug. 26.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases jumped to 155 as of Saturday, up from 95 a week earlier. The case total includes 141 deaths, including five more over the past week. 

On Friday, several metro area health departments said hospitals “are at a critical juncture between concern and crisis.”

In a release, the departments, including Jackson County’s, said the continued community spread of COVID-19 is taking a toll on the availability of staff, which is affecting the capacity of hospitals. The departments called hospital bed capacity “a significant concern” and said “hospital data available regarding bed capacity” does not line up with what doctors and nurses are seeing day by day in their wards.

According to the Mid-America Regional Council, as of Sunday, the average number of daily new hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area had risen to its highest figure yet at 138 –  including 102 in Missouri. Two weeks ago, the daily hospitalization average for the metro area was at 107.

The previous highs for the metro area had been 109 in mid-July and 132 in Oct. 11, dropping as low as 80 in mid-September in between. 

Metro area hospitals “are increasingly concerned about having to delay procedures, treatments and surgeries for patients who truly need them. Delayed or deferred care can create bad outcomes for patients, their families and the community.”

The area health departments reminded residents of basic steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 and said it is “more imperative than ever” to take those steps and ease pressure on hospitals.

Those steps include wearing face masks, regular and thorough hand washing, physical distancing – 6 feet or more – from those you don’t live with, staying home if you’re sick, and avoiding “crowded indoor gathering at homes, restaurants, bars and event venues where transmission is more likely to occur.”