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Area COVID-19 cases show continued decline

By The Examiner staff

New COVID-19 cases and positive tests in the area have continued to decline in February, as they did in January, mirroring the general nationwide trend with new cases. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 also continue to drop.

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City, the rolling seven-day average of new cases was at 23 at the end of last week. At the beginning of January, that average had been pushing 200, and by the end of the month it was about half that.

The rolling 14-day positive test percentage for Eastern Jackson County stood at 17 percent on Thursday, down from more than 25 percent a month earlier and about 40 percent in early January.

As of last weekend, the county Health Department had confirmed about 1,500 additional cases and 100 additional deaths over the previous three weeks, for 29,438 total cases and 409 deaths across Eastern Jackson County since the pandemic began.

The county’s dashboard does include Independence, which re-established its health department in December but does not yet have its own specific data.

The Kansas City Health Department has confirmed about 36,700 cases and 474 deaths since the pandemic began, as of last Wednesday.

According to the Mid-American Regional Council’s dashboard, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area was at 88 on Friday, down from 110 and 126 the previous two Fridays and 153 at the beginning of the year. 

Available hospital beds in the metro rose to 38 percent as of Sunday, up from 35 percent a couple of weeks earlier, while the percentage of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients dropped to less than 6 percent, down from 8 percent a couple of weeks earlier. Available ICU beds also continued a steady rise, from 21.5 percent to 23 percent on Friday, and COVID-19 patients accounted for just 9.5 percent of those beds on Friday, down 22 and 26 the previous two weeks.

Hospitalization data are based on a seven-day rolling average.

The metro area had more than 153,300 confirmed cases and 2,049 COVID-related deaths as of Sunday, according to MARC’s dashboard.