Continued rapid rise in area COVID-19 cases

By The Examiner staff

New COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Eastern Jackson County, part of the surge that started in southwest Missouri. 

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City, the rolling seven-day average of new cases in EJC stood at 52 on Wednesday morning, up from 45 just Sunday and 33 two weeks before that. Through most of June, that number had hovered below 20.  

The rolling 14-day positive test percentage in EJC, which had been below 5 percent through June, had risen to more 8 percent by Sunday and more than 10 percent as of Wednesday. 

As of Wednesday, the county Health Department had confirmed 32,881 cases (more than 500 the past two weeks) and 546 deaths (eight more the past two weeks) across Eastern Jackson County since the pandemic began. The county’s dashboard includes Independence. The department said it counted more than 4,500 new tests over the past week. 

Also as of Wednesday, according to the Mid-America Regional Council’s dashboard, drawn from state data, nearly 39 percent of the population in Jackson County had been fully vaccinated, less than 2 percent greater than two weeks earlier and slightly below the statewide average. That includes 48 percent of those 18 and older in the county and 73 percent of those 65 and older. 

Metrowide, 42.4 percent of the population, more than 54 percent of those 18 and older and nearly 83 percent of those 65 and older have been fully vaccinated. 

Currently, COVID-19 vaccines have not been approved for any person under the age of 12, and for ages 12 to 18 only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved. 

According to MARC’s dashboard, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area was at 73 through Monday, up from 58 two weeks earlier and 42 two weeks before that, when the metro experienced a series of weeks with continuing drops. That average stood at about 180 at the beginning of the year. The metro area has confirmed more than 180,300 cases since the pandemic began, along with 2,568 deaths (38 more the past two weeks).