The Unified Government Public Health Department will adopt most of the newly modified guidelines on COVID-19 quarantine and isolation issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued on Monday, Dec. 27.
This follows an announcement from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that it would be updating its guidelines to reflect the revised CDC recommendations. In its announcement KDHE said it would “adopt the following guidance for the general population; this does not include people who work in a health care setting or other congregate setting such as correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, preschool, K-12 schools and institutions of higher education.”
The general population does not include people who work in a health care setting or other congregate setting. If individuals develop symptoms, they should get a test and stay home.
• People with lab confirmed COVID-19 infections, regardless of vaccination status, should stay home for 5 days. If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days and you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, you can leave your house. Individuals should continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
• Boosted or fully vaccinated individuals with Pfizer-Moderna within last 6 months or Johnson and Johnson within last 2 months who are close contacts of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection do not have to stay home and should wear a mask around others for 10 days. If possible, individuals should get tested on day 5.
• People who are unvaccinated or have completed the primary series of Pfizer-Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted or completed the primary series of Johnson and Johnson over 2 months ago and are not boosted who are close contacts of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection should stay home for 5 days. After that continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days. If unable to quarantine, individuals must wear a mask for 10 days. If possible, individuals should get tested on day 5.
Health care workers in a hospital setting
• Health care workers with lab confirmed COVID-19 infections should isolate for 10 days or 7 days with negative test, if asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic (with improving symptoms).
• Health care workers with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic can return to work only with COVID-19 positive patients during the remainder of the 10-day infectious period.
• Boosted and asymptomatic health care workers who are close contacts of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection have no work restrictions with negative test on days 2 and 5-7.
• Not boosted and unvaccinated asymptomatic health care workers who are close contacts of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection must quarantine for 10 days or 7 days with a negative test.
Updated guidance can be found at KDHE’s Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidance at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2364/KDHE-Recommendations-for-Isolation-and-Quarantine-Guidance—123021-PDF.
In all cases, the Health Department strongly recommends that people wear high-quality masks such as surgical masks whenever possible and encourages people to wear N95 or KN95 masks whenever possible.
COVID cases rising in Wyandotte County
Within Wyandotte County, Health Department epidemiologists say that COVID-19 cases continue to rise at a rapid pace previously not seen during the pandemic. Additionally:
• Currently the 7-day average for number of new cases a day is 134. By comparison, on Oct. 30, the 7-day average in Wyandotte County was 20 cases per day. That is a 570% increase in 2 months.
• 219 cases diagnosed in Wyandotte residents on Dec. 29 —the most in any single day during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Currently percent positivity is 48%–the highest it has ever been at any point during the pandemic.
• 408 deaths total—16 deaths just in the month of December.
• Hospitalization numbers are very high—104 patients currently hospitalized at KU for COVID.
• Demand for testing is very high and currently exceeds availability in Wyandotte County. The Kmart facility tested 555 people on Dec. 29.
COVID-19 testing in Wyandotte County
Health Department health experts urge anyone living in Wyandotte County to get tested for COVID-19 if:
• You are sick. Remember that COVID-19 symptoms can resemble flu, cold, or allergy symptoms, so it is best to get tested if you have any of these symptoms.
• You have been exposed to COVID-19, meaning you were in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 (get tested about five days after exposure to COVID-19.
• You will be traveling soon or have recently returned from traveling. Testing is especially important before or after travel if you are not vaccinated.
• You will be attending a large gathering or event or have recently attended a large gathering or event. Testing is especially important before and after gatherings if you are not vaccinated.
Go to bit.ly/WyCoCOVIDtest or go to KnowBeforeYouGoKS.com to find a free testing location near you. At-home tests are also available for purchase at some grocery stores and pharmacies. If you get a positive result through an at-home test, follow up with a health care provider about a confirmation test.
The Health Department offers free COVID-19 testing at the former Kmart facility located at 7836 State Avenue in KCK. Testing hours at Kmart are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday – Friday. For more hours and locations visit bit.ly/WyCoCOVIDtest.
COVID-19 vaccine and booster locations
The Health Department provides COVID-19 vaccines for people ages 5 and older, and boosters for eligible individuals ages 16 and older, at the Kmart site, 7836 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas:
• Note: the Kmart vaccination site will be closed on Friday, Dec. 31.
• January hours for vaccinations will be Fridays, from noon to 6 p.m.
The Health Department also offers COVID-19 vaccines for people ages 5 and older, including boosters for eligible people ages 16 and older, at the Health Department building at 619 Ann Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas, by appointment only. Call 913-573-8855 to make an appointment. Parents can schedule appointments for children 5 years and older at the 619 Ann Ave. location – appointments are available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in January.
Newly elected board members to the Board of Public Utilities will be installed at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, just before the regular meeting.
The board members include two incumbents, Mary Gonzales and Tom Groneman, and newly elected board member David Haley. Gonzales is the at-large, position 1 board member; Groneman represents the 2nd District; and Haley is in the at-large, position 2 seat.
Because of the installation ceremony, there will not be a visitors’ section at the Jan. 5 BPU meeting, according to a BPU spokesman. It is traditional at the BPU to reserve space for the newly elected board members’ families and guests.
On the agenda for the meeting are comments by the general manager and board comments. There are no action items on the agenda.
The meeting may be viewed on Zoom on the internet, and also the public may access the meeting on the telephone.
The Zoom meeting will be at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84523139724.
Also, the public may call, toll-free, 1-888-475-4499 to listen to the meeting.
The meeting ID number is 845 2313 9724.
The board information packet is online at https://www.bpu.com/Portals/0/pdf/board-information-packet-1-5-22.pdf.