Kansas residents urged to get COVID-19 vaccines to stop Delta variant from spreading

The UG Health Department plans a mobile vaccine clinic on Tuesday morning at the Monarchs game.

Gov. Laura Kelly encouraged all Kansans to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their communities from the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

“The Delta variant is rapidly spreading in neighboring states, and the best way to protect yourself, your community, and finally get our state back to normal is by getting vaccinated,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “Kansas is moving in the right direction, but we can’t let our guard down now. Visit www.kansasvaccine.gov today to find a vaccination site near you.”

According to the CDC, the Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the B. 1.1.7 variant, which was previously the dominant strain. The new variant appears to be spreading most quickly in communities that have the lowest vaccination rates.

“The rapid increase of the Delta variant throughout the U.S. and in Kansas is of great concern to us,” Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE secretary, said. “Vaccination continues to be the best defense in combating variants.”

Kansans are encouraged to take precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including getting vaccinated, following CDC mask recommendations, practicing physical distancing, good hygiene, getting tested if exposed to someone with COVID-19 or if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and staying home if ill.

The Delta variant first originated in India and has been found in more the 90 countries. A newly identified variant, Delta plus, has been recently identified in India and appears to be less responsive to monoclonal antibody treatment. High vaccination rates not only prevent the spread of COVID-19, they also prevent new variants from developing.

To find a vaccine near you, visit Vaccines.gov. Testing is available and free for all Kansans.

A small number of COVID-19 cases are tested by the KDHE to determine if they are variants. According to the KDHE’s variant map of Kansas, there were no Delta variant cases found in Wyandotte County as of June 28. The highest number of variant cases in Wyandotte County was Alpha, the B.1.1.7 variant, 28 cases found.

The KDHE’s variant map also showed there were 14 cases of the Delta variant found in Johnson County. There were 122 cases of the Alpha variant in Johnson County.

At the University of Kansas Health System’s morning media update Monday, Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, said some countries, such as Israel and Australia, may reinstate restrictions with the rise of the Delta variant.

He encouraged everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, saying that natural immunity from the virus will probably not protect you from the variants, which are becoming more prevalent.

The doctors also were encouraged by a new study in the journal Nature that said Moderna and Pfizer vaccines could give lifetime immunity against COVID-19. The only reason for a booster could be to fight the variants, according to the article.

Free COVID-19 vaccines available

The Unified Government Health Department’s central vaccine location at the former Kmart, 7836 State Ave., will be open to those age 12 and older from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 29. Walk-ins will be accepted.

A mobile Health Department vaccine clinic will be at the Monarchs game starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 29, at Legends Field, 1800 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas. There will be gifts and a chance to win a free suite at an upcoming game.

Hours now through July 2:
• Kmart site (7836 State Ave, Kansas City, Kansas)
o Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. – vaccine and testing incentives available.
• Armory site (100 S. 20th St, Kansas City, Kansas)
o Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. – vaccine and testing incentives available.

Hours beginning the week of July 5:
• Kmart site (7836 State Ave, Kansas City, Kansas)
o Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. – vaccine and testing incentives available.
• Closed: Armory site (100 S. 20th St, Kansas City, Kansas
Mobile vaccines can still be requested online at WycoVaccines.org or by calling 3-1-1 (913-573-5311).

Other sites available for vaccinations

Vaccinations at KU Health System are open to the public. Current patients may use MyChart to make an appointment. Others may call 913-588-1227 or visit kansashealthsystem.com/vaccine to make an appointment to get vaccinated. KU Health System currently is vaccinating residents of Kansas and Missouri who are 12 or older, by appointment only. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian throughout the appointment.Other sites available for vaccinations

There are also pharmacies giving free COVID-19 vaccinations in Wyandotte County by appointment, when available. These include Price Chopper and Hen House pharmacies, which are now also accepting walk-in vaccinations or appointments, and are starting vaccinations for age 12 and up at those pharmacies that are giving Pfizer vaccine (see https://www.ballsfoodspharmacy.com/).

CVS has announced walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccine at some of its stores. Those interested in getting a vaccination at a CVS pharmacy are asked to visit a CVS website in order to make sure there is vaccine available. The website is at www.cvs.com/. Walgreens and Walmart also were listed on www.vaccines.gov as giving vaccinations.

Other pharmacies and sites giving vaccines are listed at www.vaccines.gov. The website also tells whether vaccines are in stock at the locations.

Case numbers reported

There were 12 active COVID-19 patients on Monday morning at the University of Kansas Health System, an increase of three from Friday, according to Dr. Hawkinson. Four patients were in the intensive care unit, an increase of two from Friday. Three of those patients were on ventilators, an increase of one from Friday. Nine other COVID-19 patients were still hospitalized but were out of the acute phase, the same as Friday. There were a total of 21 COVID patients, an increase of three from Friday. According to the doctors, except for one patient with multiple health problems, no one with COVID-19 in the hospital has been vaccinated. Doctors believe most of those patients have the Delta variant.

Wyandotte County reported an increase of 30 COVID-19 cases on Monday, June 28, for a cumulative 19,053 cases, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 299 deaths reported, no change.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 176,749 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Monday in the Kansas City region. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 52.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 317,651 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Monday, June 28, an increase of 347 cases since Friday. There was a total of 5,15o cumulative deaths reported statewide.
According to KDHE figures, Johnson County had a cumulative 59,824 COVID-19 cases on Monday, June 28, an increase of 66 since Friday. Sedgwick County had a cumulative 57,953 COVID-19 cases on Monday, June 28, an increase of 51.

The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Monday night 33,640,493 COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 604,115 total deaths reported nationwide. There were 3,484 new cases nationwide and 75 new deaths nationwide.
States with high numbers of new cases were California, 861; Missouri, 624; New York, 381; Utah, 282; and Colorado, 233.
Countries with high numbers of new cases were India, 46,148; Brazil, 33,704; Colombia, 32,376; Indonesia, 21,342; and U.S., 3,484, according to Johns Hopkins information.

Free testing available

Free COVID-19 testing is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 29, at the former Kmart, 7836 State Ave.

Besides Health Department sites, free COVID-19 testing is available at several locations in Wyandotte County.

Visit gogettested.com/Kansas for more sites.

Wyandotte County residents may contact the Health Department at wycohelp.org to sign up for a test to be delivered to their home.

For more details about free COVID-19 testing offered by the UG Health Department, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19, https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept or call 3-1-1.

The Health Department’s general contact page is at https://www.wycokck.org/Health/Contact.aspx. The department’s Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept.

Testing sites are at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19. There are more test sites listed on this page.

Saliva testing is now offered at the UG Health Department. For more information, visit https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/02042021-ugphd-saliva-testing-available.pdf.

The University of Kansas Health System morning media update is online at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/642515303372499.

The University of Kansas Health System COVID-19 update page is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/330310795391910.

A vaccine report for the state of Kansas is at

The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/.

The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at https://marc2.org/covidhub/.

The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at https://bao.arcgis.com/covid-19/jhu/county/20209.html.

The Johns Hopkins Data in Motion, a presentation on critical COVID-19 data in the past 24 hours, is at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/covid-19-daily-video.

Expanded food support announced for Kansas families through pandemic EBT program

Gov. Laura Kelly, in collaboration with the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), has announced the continuation of the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program for Kansas families who missed out on school lunches during the 2020-2021 school year.

“Expanding the P-EBT program to childcare facilities will address food insecurity and make sure all Kansas children have reliable access to healthy foods as we overcome COVID-19,” Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news release. “Keeping young Kansans safe and healthy is critical, and I’m glad to see this program reaching the families who need it most.”

Through this program, P-EBT will provide a nutritional resource to families who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals or childcare meals due to school closures or reduced in-person attendance hours for at least five consecutive days.

P-EBT funds are being issued for the 2020-2021 school year beginning in late June 2021.

Children that attended a school that reported days missed due to COVID-19 are eligible for P-EBT. A child qualifies for P-EBT if:

• They qualified for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program, and,
• The child did not receive free or reduced-price meals at school because the school was closed or operated with reduced attendance or hours for at least five consecutive days due to COVID-19.

School children do not have to be on the food assistance program through DCF to receive this special P-EBT benefit.

Additionally, children under the age of 6 in a household that received food assistance in Kansas at any time since Oct. 1, 2020, are eligible for P-EBT benefits if they live or attend a childcare facility in an area where one or more schools were closed or operating with reduced attendance or hours.

“This year, the P-EBT benefit has been expanded to include youth in childcare facilities who were affected by the pandemic,” Kansas DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “This program is essential to families who are experiencing food insecurity and don’t always know where their next meal will come from.”

P-EBT benefit amounts will vary by child based on that child’s learning situation. The specific benefit amount per child will be provided to the household on the approval notice received in the mail. Families will receive their benefits on a new or their existing Kansas Benefits Card (EBT Card).

• For households that already receive public assistance through DCF, the P-EBT benefit will be automatically issued to the household’s Kansas Benefits Card (EBT Card). Benefits will be issued in one lump sum, staggered over 10 days in June 2021 for the months of August 2020 through May 2021. An application through DCF is not needed.

• Households that do not receive public assistance must apply through the DCF self-service portal, https://cssp.kees.ks.gov/apspssp/sspNonMed.portal, using a unique identifier received from their school. The application process is estimated to start July 12.

Recipients can use their P-EBT funds to purchase eligible foods from approved retailers that accept food assistance benefits, like grocery stores and online at Aldi, Amazon or Walmart.

P-EBT for the summer months of 2021 will be issued as a supplemental benefit in the fall.

Flags at half-staff today to honor late Kansas sergeant

Flags have been lowered to half-staff today in Kansas to honor Staff Sgt. Wesley W. “Wes” Kubie of Salina, Kansas.

Sgt. Kubie was involved in a military vehicle accident June 8 at Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range, 10 miles southwest of Salina.

Staff Sgt. Kubie was a Joint Terminal Attack Controller instructor for the Kansas Air National Guard, assigned to the 284th Air Support Operations Squadron at Smoky Hill. He was deployed to Afghanistan from 2019 to 2020 as an active guard reservist in the Air Force.

“Staff Sergeant Kubie lost his life in the line of duty serving his state and nation,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “I share my condolences with the Kubie family, loved ones, and fellow Kansas Guardsmen. His commitment to our state will not be forgotten.”