EJC covid-19 case updates

By The Examiner staff

Eastern Jackson County has not yet experienced the uptick in new COVID-19 cases such as southwest Missouri and other areas of the state, as numbers continue to stay low after several weeks of continuous drops. 

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City, the rolling seven-day average of new cases in Eastern Jackson County continued to fall slightly, at 17.8 as of Monday compared to 18.4, 18.7 and 18.5 the previous weeks. Earlier in the spring, that average had reached 47. 

The rolling 14-day positive test percentage in EJC stood at 4.4 percent as of Monday, up slightly from 4.3 last week after falling from 4.5 and 4.7 percent the previous weeks and just below 7 percent in early May. At the end of January, the rolling positive test percentage in EJC was at 25 percent.  

As of Sunday, the county Health Department had confirmed 32,093 cases and 533 deaths (three 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 4,125 new tests over the past week, slightly above last week’s total. That number had slowly declined since the beginning of April.  

As of last Monday, the city of Kansas City had reported 39,765 cases and 584 deaths. 

Drs. Steven Stites and Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System said the number of COVID-19 infections they are seeing their hospitals – a slight uptick in recent weeks – will probably remain similar in the coming weeks unless vaccinations greatly increase, as the metro area on both sides continues to lag behind the highest-vaccinated states. 

“This feels like, without masks, with people hanging out in bars and rest, this is the number we’re going to see for a while,” Stites said during a media briefing Monday. “We’re going to see outbreaks in areas with less people vaccinated. When people don’t mask and aren’t vaccinated, that’s when they’re vulnerable.” 

“Bottom line,” Hawkinson said, “it’s about vaccine uptake.”  

According to the Mid-America Regional Council’s dashboard, drawn from state data, as of Monday morning more than 36 percent of the population in Jackson County (including Kansas City) had been fully vaccinated, including more than 45 percent of those age 18 and older and more than 71 percent of those 65 and older. Metrowide, 39.8 percent of the population, more than 51 percent of those 18 and older and more than 81 percent of those 65 and older have been fully vaccinated.   

According to MARC’s dashboard, the seven-day average of new hospitalizations in the nine-county metro area was at 55 through Saturday, compared with 42 the previous week, culminating a series of weeks with continuing drops. That average stood at about 180 at the beginning of the year. The metro area has confirmed more than 175,800 cases since the pandemic began, along with 2,521 deaths.   

Available hospital beds in the metro dropped a couple percentage points to 37 percent overall and 29 percent for available ICU beds after a dip last week. COVID-19 patients account for 2.1 percent of hospitalized patients overall and 6.9 percent in the ICU, a slight increase from the previous week for ICU beds.      

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