COVID-19 testing remains low across area

By The Examiner staff

While more and more vaccinations are being given, and new COVID-19 cases in Eastern Jackson County continue to remain low, so does testing.

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City, the rolling seven-day average of new cases was at 9.3 on Sunday, just 0.5 greater than last week and down from 23 in late February. 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 7.8 percent on Sunday, down from 8.9 percent a week earlier, 13 percent the week before that and about 25 percent at the end of January. However, only about 1,000 tests were done last week for the third straight week, well short of the CDC’s daily minimum goal is about 500.

As of last weekend, the county Health Department had confirmed about 120 additional cases and four additional deaths over the previous week, for 30,387 total cases and 444 deaths across Eastern Jackson County since the pandemic bega. The county’s dashboard includes Independence.

The Kansas City Health Department has confirmed 37,187 cases and 542 deaths since the pandemic began, as of Friday morning – one more death and nearly 350 additional cases over the previous week.

The metro area had more than 162,800 confirmed cases and 2,300 COVID-related deaths as of Sunday across the nine-county metro area, according to Mid-America Regional Council’s dashboard, an increase of about 1,500 more cases and 20 deaths from the previous week.

According to MARC’s dashboard, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area was at 65 on Sunday, down from 77 a week earlier and about 150 at the beginning of the year.

Available hospital beds in the metro were at 40 percent as of Sunday, relatively steady for the third straight week, though the percentage of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients stood at just 2.8 percent, down one-tenth of a point from a week earlier. Available ICU beds rose again to 32.5 percent as of Sunday, and COVID-19 patients accounted for just 6.1 percent of those beds, up slightly from 5.5 percent a week earlier but down from the two prior weeks.

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