Student deaths from COVID preventable, doctor says

A recent death of a Kansas middle school student from COVID-19 was discussed briefly on Thursday at the morning medical update of the University of Kansas Health System.

Some general information about the death, but not the name of the school, the city or the individual student, was released on Wednesday during a state panel discussion on school safety.

“It’s a tragedy,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at KU Health System.

“We know and understand that vaccines are extremely efficacious and have a significant amount of safety as well,” he said. “We know that these things are preventable, whether 12 and above or 55 and above.”

Masking in schools is vital for keeping students safe, he said. A vaccine for those under 12 could be approved next month.

Dr. Hawkinson said only 10 to 15 percent of people who get the virus will need to seek medical treatment and explained how to tell when it’s time to do so. He advised getting tested if you even suspect you have COVID.

He said no vaccine is 100 percent effective at stopping disease, but the COVID vaccines are effective enough to keep you from getting seriously ill, going to the hospital, and dying.

Currently, booster shots are recommended for those who are immunocompromised, he said.

The CDC on Thursday recommended that those who are 65 and older or at high risk could get a Pfizer booster shot. State and local guidance on the process will be coming out later.

Dr. Hawkinson asked everyone to seek out sources of truth, not just active misinformation campaigns, which he said were “completely false, uninformed opinions not informed by the science, by the reality of the situation.”

Vaccines, tests available

The former Kmart building at 7836 State Ave., a Unified Government Health Department vaccination site, will be open for testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and for free COVID-19 vaccinations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Walk-ins are accepted. There are incentives being offered for Wyandotte County residents, while supplies last. See

COVID-19 testing from WellHealth will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at the Kansas National Guard Armory, 100 S. 20th. Appointments are necessary. The site is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To make an appointment, including a same-day appointment, visit

COVID-19 vaccines and testing are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at the Vibrant Health Argentine 1428 S. 32nd St., Kansas City, Kansas. Testing and vaccinations are available. No appointment is necessary.

Mobile vaccines can be requested online at or by calling 3-1-1 (913-573-5311). For more information on the Unified Government Health Department’s vaccine schedule, see

COVID-19 vaccines and tests are available at other locations in Wyandotte County, including some pharmacies. For locations and availability, visit

Free vaccinations at KU Health System are open to the public, and appointments are required. Current patients may use MyChart to make an appointment. Others may call 913-588-1227 or visit 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.

Case numbers reported

The University of Kansas Health System reported 72 total COVID-19 patients on Thursday, Sept. 23, no change from Wednesday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. Thirty-five patients with the active virus were inpatients on Thursday, a decrease of five from Wednesday. Thirteen patients were in the intensive care unit, a decrease of one since Wednesday. Nine patients were on ventilators, no change from Wednesday. Thirty-seven other patients were still hospitalized from COVID, but were out of the acute infection phase, an increase of two from Wednesday.

Wyandotte County reported a cumulative 23,723 cases on Thursday, Sept. 23, an increase of 33 cases since Wednesday, Sept. 22, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There were a cumulative total of 361 deaths on Thursday, an increase of one since Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, the Unified Government Health Department reported that 48.34 percent of Wyandotte County residents had received at least one dose of vaccine. Those completing their vaccinations totaled about 41.46 percent.
The percentage of Wyandotte County residents who were age 12 and older who had received at least one dose was 59.5 percent.

The Mid-America Regional Council reported 212,770 cases on Thursday in Greater Kansas City, a nine-county area. There were a total of 2,888 deaths. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 116.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 401,931 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Wednesday, Sept. 22, an increase of 2,562 since Monday, Sept. 20. There was a total of 5,919 cumulative deaths reported statewide, an increase of three since Sept. 20.
The KDHE reported 73,869 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Johnson County on Sept. 22, an increase of 298 since Sept. 20. Leavenworth County had 9,805 cases on Sept. 22, an increase of 34 since Sept. 20. Sedgwick County (the Wichita area) reported 74,513 cases on Sept. 22, an increase of 601 since Sept. 20.
On Wednesday, the KHDE reported 11,320 cumulative cases in Douglas County (the Lawrence area), an increase of 52 since Sept. 20. Riley County (the Manhattan area) had 7,490 cumulative cases, an increase of 33 since Sept. 20. Shawnee County (the Topeka area) had 24,082 cumulative cases, an increase of 123 cases since Sept. 20.

On Thursday night, there were a cumulative 42,672,291 COVID-19 cases in the United States, with a cumulative 684,357 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.


To see a video from the KU doctors’ morning medical update, visit

Visit and for more testing sites.

Wyandotte County residents may contact the Health Department at 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 or call 3-1-1.

To view details about the extension of the mask order in KCK until Nov. 18, visit

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