Area case numbers rise slightly

By The Examiner staff

Although Eastern Jackson County has not fueled Missouri’s 23 percent statewide increase in new COVID-19 cases as much as counties in southwest Missouri have, cases here are on the uptick. 

“We’ve got to keep a close eye on the Delta variant, and we’ve got to get more people vaccinated,” Dr. Steven Stites, chief medical officer of the University of Kansas Health System, said Monday, adding that unvaccinated younger adults, who perhaps think themselves more invulnerable, have become a larger percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 cases. 

The key to increased vaccinations, he said, is “just continuing to get the message out and having individuals spread the word from one person to another.” 

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 jumped from about 18 the last several weeks to 33 through Sunday, the highest average in a couple of months. 

The rolling 14-day positive test percentage in EJC also rose a bit, from 4.4 last week – and several more weeks below 5 percent – to 6.7 percent through Sunday.  

As of Sunday, the county Health Department had confirmed 32,352 cases (259 more this past week) and 538 deaths (five more this past week) across Eastern Jackson County since the pandemic began. The county’s dashboard includes Independence. The department said it counted 3,980 new tests over the past week, slightly below last week’s total. That number had slowly declined since the beginning of April.  

As of last Friday morning, the city of Kansas City had reported 40,088 cases and 589 deaths, up 323 cases and five deaths from the previous week.  

According to the Mid-America Regional Council’s dashboard, drawn from state data, as of Monday morning more than 37 percent of the population in Jackson County (including Kansas City) had been fully vaccinated, including more than 47 percent of those age 18 and older and more than 72 percent of those 65 and older. Metrowide, 41.2 percent of the population, more than 53 percent of those 18 and older and more than 82 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 58 through Saturday, up slightly from 56 last week compared with 42 two weeks earlier, which culminated 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 176,700 cases since the pandemic began, along with 2,530 deaths (nine more this past week).  

Available hospital beds in the metro rose a bit to 38 percent overall and dropped from 29 to 27.6 percent for available ICU beds. COVID-19 patients account for 2 percent of all hospitalized patients overall and less than 4 percent in the ICU, a slight decrease in both from the previous week.       

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