COVID-19 rates in area moving higher

Mike Genet

Following a fall season of COVID-19 case rates generally dropping, the area has seen that trend reverse slightly over the past couple of weeks going into the Thanksgiving holiday. 

According to the Jackson County Health Department, which covers the county outside of Kansas City and Independence, the rolling seven-day average of new cases in Eastern Jackson County stood at 46 through Sunday, compared with 48, 44, 41 and 40 in previous weeks. In early August, that figure was 150. 

Through Sunday the Health Department’s seven-day positive test percentage was 8.6 percent, compared with 8.5 the week before. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention number for Jackson County as a whole went from 8.2 to 8.3 percent, up from 7.1 two weeks ago.  

The city of Independence reported its rolling 14-day average on Nov. 10 at 8.8 percent.  

The CDC metric for high transmission is 10 percent or higher. Between 8 and 10 percent is considered “substantial,” and between 5 and 8 percent is “moderate.” Below 5 percent is “low.”  

The CDC's other metric for high community transmission is 100 or more new cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days. The county Health Department lists its number at 119 for EJC, compared with 125, 114, 107 and 103 the previous four weeks. 

But the CDC's number for Jackson County jumped to 388 after slowly rising from 143 to 152 and 187. The CDC's statewide number is 191. 

The city of Independence listed its 14-day rate on Nov. 10 at 133.  

The county Health Department's listed 456 additional cases and two deaths in the last week outside of Kansas City and Independence, bringing the totals since the pandemic started to 41,374 cases and 543 deaths.  

The city of Independence reported 20,882 total cases through Nov. 10, 275 more from two weeks earlier, and 250 total deaths – up from 21 on Oct. 27, though none in the previous seven days.  

According to the Mid-America Regional Council’s dashboard, 50.6 percent of the population in Jackson County had been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, up less than half a percentage point from last week and even with the statewide figure, which ranks on the lower end nationally. 

The county figure of those fully vaccinated includes 40.7 percent for those ages 12 to 17, 56.4 percent of those 18 to 64 and 81.2 percent of those 65 and older. Federal regulators approved to Pfizer vaccine for children age 5-11 less than three weeks ago, and booster shots for adults have not been approved. 

Metrowide, 54.6 percent of the total population has been vaccinated, up just three-tenths of a percentage point from last week. 

According to the MARC dashboard, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 hospitalizations in the metro area stood at 83 as of Sunday, up slightly from 79 last week after 84 and 81 the two weeks before. That figure had been 167 in mid-August.  

Metrowide, there have been 232,278 confirmed cases and 3,227 deaths since the pandemic began, about 2,600 additional cases and 27 additional deaths from last week's totals.