COVID-19 test positivity continues decline in area

By The Examiner staff

New case numbers in the area continue to remain low, though testing has fallen behind in recent weeks in Eastern Jackson County.

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City, the rolling seven-day average of new cases was at 17 on Sunday, up slightly from last week but down from 23 two weeks earlier. 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 continues to fall and stood at 13 percent on Sunday, down from 14.5 percent last week and about 25 percent at the end of January. However, only about 1,000 tests were done last week, whereas the CDC’s daily minimum goal is about 500.

As of last weekend, the county Health Department had confirmed about 156 additional cases and 22 additional deaths over the previous weeks, for 29,867 total cases and 431 deaths across Eastern Jackson County since the pandemic began about a year ago.

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 36,679 cases and 521 deaths since the pandemic began, as of Monday morning, 47 additional deaths over a week and a half.

According to the Mid-American Regional Council’s dashboard, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area was at 82 on Sunday, down from 89 a week earlier and from about 150 at the beginning of the year.

Available hospital beds in the metro rose to 41 percent as of Sunday, up from 36 percent a week earlier, and the percentage of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients continued to drop to 3.4 percent, down more than a percentage point from a week earlier. Available ICU beds dropped a bit from 29 to 26 percent as of Sunday, though COVID-19 patients accounted for just 7.5 percent of those beds, down from 9.1 percent a week earlier.

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

The metro area had more than 160,900 confirmed cases and 2,230 COVID-related deaths as of Sunday, according to MARC’s dashboard, an increase of 131 deaths from the previous week.