Eastern Jackson County COVID-19 cases back in 'high' category

The Examiner staff

While any effect from the Thanksgiving holiday won't immediately be known, area COVID-19 case rates have continued their recent rise. 

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 58 through Monday, after rising through the 40s the previous month. 

Through Monday the Health Department’s seven-day positive test percentage was 10.3 percent, up from 8.6 and 8.5 percent the past two weeks. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention number for Jackson County as a whole also rose two percentage points to 10.3 percent. 

The city of Independence last 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.” All but a dozen Missouri counties are considered high compared with about half several weeks ago. 

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 150 for EJC, compared with numbers ranging from 103 to 125 the previous five weeks.  

But the CDC's number for Jackson County stood Monday at 233, while statewide it is 176. 

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

The county Health Department's listed more than 600 additional cases and seven deaths in the last week outside of Kansas City and Independence, bringing the totals since the pandemic started to 42,014 cases and 550 deaths through Monday. 

The city of Independence reported 20,882 total cases through Nov. 10, 275 more from two weeks earlier, and 250 total deaths – up 21 from Oct. 27. 

According to the Mid-America Regional Council’s dashboard, 50.7 percent of the population in Jackson County had been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, up just one-tenth percentage point from last week and one-tenth behind 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, 56.6 percent of those 18 to 64 and 81.3 percent of those 65 and older. Federal regulators approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 less than a month ago, and booster shots for adults also have been approved. 

Metrowide, 54.7 percent of the total population has been vaccinated, also up just one-tenth 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 70 as of Sunday, compared to 92 last week. That figure had been 167 in mid-August and generally has declined since. 

Metrowide, through Sunday there have been 235,254 confirmed cases and 3,244 deaths since the pandemic began, nearly 3,000 additional cases and 17 additional deaths from last week's totals.