EJC case totals update

By The Examiner staff

For a third straight week, new COVID-19 cases in Eastern Jackson County continue to drop. 

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City, the rolling 14-day positive test percentage in Eastern Jackson stood at 4.7 percent as of Monday, down from 5.8 percent last week and 6.3 and 6.6 the two weeks before that. That figured had dropped as low as 3.3 percent earlier in the spring. At the end of January, the rolling positive test percentage in EJC was at 25 percent.    

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The rolling seven-day average of new cases dropped from about 32 to 18.5 as of Monday, the lowest since 38 more than a month ago. Three weeks ago, the average was 47. 

As of Sunday, the county Health Department had confirmed 31,875 cases (up 146 from last week) and 520 deaths (16 more this past week) across Eastern Jackson County since the pandemic began. The county’s dashboard includes Independence.    

The department said it counted more than 4,400 new tests over the past week, about 1,000 fewer than last week’s total. That number has slowly declined since the beginning of April. The CDC’s goal for the agency is about 500 tests per day.    

“We continue to cruise at a low altitude,” Steve Stites, chief medical officer of the University of Kansas Health System, said during a briefing Tuesday about low hospitalization rates in the area.  

The key to keeping numbers low and going down further, KU infectious disease specialist Dana Hawkinson said, will be continuing to vaccinate people, especially in the younger age groups that have recently become eligible to receive shots. 

According to the Mid-America Regional Council’s dashboard, more than 32 percent of the population in Jackson County outside of Kansas City had been fully vaccinated through Monday, with 38.2 percent having at least started the vaccine regimen – slightly ahead of the metro area averages. The city of Kansas City reports more than 32 percent fully vaccinated and nearly 40 percent having at least started the regimen. Statewide, about 34.6 percent in Missouri have completed the vaccine regimen. Percentages are based on the entire population – and children age 12-15 only became eligible for the vaccine last month.   

The Kansas City Health Department had confirmed 39,415 cases and 582 deaths since the pandemic began, as of Friday morning – 165 additional cases and six additional deaths over the previous week. 

According to MARC’s dashboard, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area was at 45 through Saturday, down from 52 the previous week and 55 and 62 the weeks before that. That average stood at about 180 at the beginning of the year. The metro area has confirmed more than 174,422 cases since the pandemic began, along with 2,483 deaths – 31 additional deaths this week 

Available hospital beds in the metro jumped several percentage points to 42 percent overall and 39.8 percent for available ICU beds. COVID-19 patients account for 1.3 percent of hospitalized patients overall and 2.7 percent in the ICU, representing a four-point ICU drop from the previous week.   

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