Area's COVID-19 rate remains high

By The Examiner staff

With the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine doses scheduled to reach the metro area this week, positive coronavirus test percentages and new case totals continue to remain high in Eastern Jackson County. Hospitalizations in the metro area have not diminished.

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City, the rolling 14-day positive test percentage was at 26.7 percent Friday, compared with 26.9 percent the week before. In EJC, the 14-day average has not been below 20 percent since the beginning of November and hasn’t been below 25 percent since Nov. 9.

The overall test percentage in EJC is 16.9 percent positive as of Friday – up less than half a percentage point from a week earlier. The department confirmed an additional 1,560 cases over the past week, for 20,469 since the pandemic began. The case total as of Monday morning seven deaths in the last week and includes 196 total. 

According to the department’s dashboard, the rolling seven-day average of new cases was at 132 on Friday, down from 154 a week earlier and similar to the figure at the beginning of the month. That seven-day average has not been below 100 since October.

As of last Wednesday, the Kansas City Health Department has confirmed nearly 26,300 cases and 313 deaths since the pandemic began.

According to the dashboard maintained by the Mid-America Regional Council, as of Sunday 32 percent of hospital beds in the nine-county metro area are available, down from 33 percent a week earlier, while 14.9 percent of those beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, up from 13 percent a week earlier. Less than 15 percent of ICU beds are available, similar to last week, and COVID-19 patients account for nearly 33 percent of those, a slight increase from last week.

Those figures are also based on seven-day rolling averages.

Another seven-day rolling average – new hospitalizations – was up to 182 on Friday after being at 175 and 174 the previous two Fridays.

According to MARC, as of Sunday, there have been 105,000 confirmed cases and 1,226 deaths in the metro area, including 59 deaths and more than 8,800 additional cases confirmed over the past week.