EJC covid-19 case totals

By The Examiner staff

While new COVID-19 cases rose 13 percent across Missouri last week, Jackson County was among those with notable declines, and positive test percentages in Eastern Jackson County continue to fall.. 

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City, the rolling 14-day positive test percentage in Eastern Jackson continues to fall, from about 8 percent the previous week to 3.6 percent as of Sunday. At the end of January, that figure in EJC was at 25 percent, and it has generally fallen since.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases rose from 9.3 last week to 19.8 as of Sunday, though in late February that number was at 23.

As of last weekend, the county Health Department had confirmed about 120 additional cases and five additional deaths over the previous week, for 30,506 total cases and 449 deaths across Eastern Jackson County since the pandemic began. The county’s dashboard includes Independence.

The Kansas City Health Department has confirmed 37,310 cases and 540 deaths since the pandemic began, as of Thursday morning – nearly 120 additional cases over the previous week.

The metro area had more than 163,860 confirmed cases and 2,327 COVID-related deaths as of Monday across the nine-county metro area, according to Mid-America Regional Council’s dashboard, an increase of about 1,000 more cases and 27 deaths from the previous week.

Doctors with the University of Kansas Health System said they might not use the phrase “impending doom” when seeing seeing a case spike in some areas, like the director of the CDC did earlier this week, but they echo the director’s concern, given the spread of COVID-19 variants, and the need to maintain caution and vigilance against spreading the virus. 

David Wild said the basic rules of disease transmission in this pandemic haven’t changed.

“Any changes we’re seeing now in those numbers (in other areas of the country) are due to things that happened two or three or even four weeks ago,” Wild said during a media briefing this week. “The behavior changes in spring break will show up in two to three weeks.” 

“We don’t want to go backwards,” added Dana Hawkinson.

Echoing what he said has been the doctors’ message for weeks as the vaccine rollout continues and expands, Wild said, “Let’s not stumble toward the finish line.”

According to MARC’s dashboard, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area was at 60 on Sunday, down from 71 a week earlier, 78 the week before that and about 150 at the beginning of the year.

Available hospital beds in the metro were at 38.6 percent as of Sunday, relatively steady for the fourth straight week, though the percentage of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients stood at just 2.65 percent, down .15 of a point from a week earlier. Available ICU beds rose again to 38.5 percent as of Sunday, and COVID-19 patients accounted for just 6.25 percent of those beds, about the same as a week earlier.

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