High community transmission of COVID-19 in Eastern Jackson County, but numbers declining

By The Examiner staff

Jackson County continues to be in high community transmission of the coronavirus, according to CDC metrics – like 94 percent of the counties in the United States – though new COVID-19 cases in the area continue to slowly trend downward. 

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside Kansas City and Independence, the rolling seven-day average of new cases in Eastern Jackson County stood at 72 through Sunday, down about 49 percent from four weeks earlier. In early August, that figure had been at 150. 

Through Sunday, the Health Department’s seven-day positive test percentage was 9.1 percent, down from 12.3 percent last week and about half what it was four weeks ago. 

The county department did say that while overall cases are trending downward, case rates among school age children have been increasing since school started. For the week of Sept. 5-11, the highest case rate was in the 10-14 age range. 

The city of Independence Health Department's dashboard had not updated from last week, when it reported its rolling 14-day percentage at 12.5 percent through Wednesday, down from 15.6 percent about two weeks earlier. 

Independence last week had confirmed about 19,000 total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started, with 210 deaths – none over the past 14 days.  

The county Health Department altered its dashboard last month to count confirmed and probable cases in the cumulative case total. This week, the case total outside of Kansas City and Independence is listed at 37,624, an increase of 95 since last week, with 447 total deaths (nine more over the past week). 

According to the Mid-America Regional Council's dashboard, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 hospitalizations in the metro area stood at 106 as of Sunday, down from 135 last week and continuing a steady from 167 in mid-August after a steady rise from just 39 in early June.  

Metrowide, there have been more nearly 210,600 confirmed cases and 2,832 deaths since the pandemic began, about 3,300 cases and 29 deaths in the past two weeks.  

According to MARC’s dashboard, 46 percent of the population in Jackson County had been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, still slightly below the statewide figure of 46.9 percent that ranks on the lower end nationally. 

The county figure of those fully vaccinated includes 33.2 percent for those ages 12 to 17, 50.9 percent of those 18 to 64 and 77.4 percent of those 65 and older.  

Metrowide, 50.5 percent of the total population has been vaccinated, up from 49.9 percent two weeks ago.