Doctors hope to see increase in COVID vaccinations

With a surge in COVID cases in central Missouri and the Kansas City area, doctors at the University of Kansas Health System are hoping it provides a motivation for more people to get their vaccines.

“We need to have our masks back on,” Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System, said Monday morning. “We can bend this curve. We need to putour masks back on and make sure folks get vaccinated. What we’re seeing is all of us can spread the disease.”

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, said COVID rates in the Springfield area are going up again. No one wants to go back to the days of hospitals overflowing with COVID cases.

“That has been happening to them now,” he said, “but we know how to stop it. Hopefully this is an impetus to everyone who wants to get vaccinated.”

On Monday morning, Dr. Damien Stevens, critical care physician, recalled what it was like in New York at the beginning of the pandemic, when he went to help doctors on the front lines. The streets and public transportation were deserted. The intensive care nurse to patient ratio at hospitals went from one to one, to one to eight. More than 80 percent of the patients in the hospitals there were being treated for COVID.

He found it sad that while they used to worry about having enough masks, now they have a preventive vaccine that a significant part of the population won’t take.

Dr. Stevens is concerned that what happened in New York at the start of the pandemic is now happening with the surge in Missouri hospitals and will soon happen in the Kansas City area unless more people are vaccinated.

COVID rates quadrupled last month in the Kansas City area because of the Delta variant, Dr. Stites said.

Kansas City, Missouri, on Monday added restrictions requiring masks in indoor public spaces. This follows the recommendation of the CDC.

If the community doesn’t make the choice now to bend the curve, it may face difficult choices down the road, according to Dr. Stites. Those consequences might include delaying some care because the emergency rooms are full.

“This is not a political issue, this is a medical issue,” he said.

Dr. Hawkinson recommended getting vaccines, as well as masking in school in the fall, and social distancing.

Free vaccines available

Free COVID-19 vaccines will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday at the Kmart vaccination site, 7836 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Vaccines are free for people ages 12 and older. There are gifts available, as supplies last.

For more information on the Unified Government Health Department’s vaccine schedule, see WycoVaccines.org.


Mobile vaccines can still be requested online at WycoVaccines.org or by calling 3-1-1 (913-573-5311).

Other sites available for vaccinations

Free 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.

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

Higher numbers of COVID-19 patients were reported Monday morning at the University of Kansas Health System. There were 38 active COVID-19 patients on Monday morning, an increase of three from Friday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the KU Health System. Fifteen patients were in the intensive care unit, a decrease of two from Friday. Nine were on ventilators, no change from Friday. Another 14 patients were hospitalized because of COVID-19 but were out of the acute infection phase, a decrease of four from Friday. There were 52 total COVID patients, a decrease of one from Friday.

Wyandotte County reported a cumulative 20,247 cases on Monday, an increase of 211 since Friday, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 308 deaths reported, an increase of two since Friday.

On Wednesday, July 28, the Unified Government Health Department reported that 40.93 percent of Wyandotte County residents had received at least one dose of vaccine. Those completing their vaccinations totaled about 35.12 percent.
The percentage of Wyandotte County residents who were age 12 and older who had received at least one dose was 50.4 percent.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 176,532 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Monday in the Kansas City region. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 115.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 334,636 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Monday, Aug. 2, an increase of 1,703 since Friday, July 30. There was a total of 5,266 cumulative deaths reported statewide, an increase of 11 since July 30.

The KDHE reported 63,484 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Johnson County on Aug. 2, an increase of 337 since July 30. Leavenworth County had 8,027 cases, an increase of 77 since July 30. Sedgwick County (the Wichita area) reported 60,200 cases, an increase of 290 since July 30.

The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Monday night reported 35,131,393 COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 613,679 total deaths reported nationwide. There were 25,141 new cases nationwide.

Countries with new cases rising were India, 40,134; Iran, 32,511; Indonesia, 30,738; U.S, 25,141; and United Kingdom, 23,860; according to Johns Hopkins information.


Vaccine doses reported administered in the United States Monday, 816,203 . Fifty percent of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated.
Vaccines administered: California, 134.740; Florida, 78,119; Texas, 76,792; Pennsylvania, 63,593; and New York, 47,591.

Free testing available

Free COVID-19 testing is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the UG Health Department’s central location, the former Kmart, 7836 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Free gift cards are available to those who get a test, while supplies last.

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

Testing will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Vibrant Health Cordell Meeks Jr. Clinic, formerly Children’s Mercy West, 4313 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.

Visit gogettested.com/Kansas and https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19 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.

The University of Kansas Health System’s media update is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/4123280777768454.

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

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.

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