Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System are very concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, reported that KU hospital saw a rise in the number of COVID-19 patients on Thursday morning. There were 37 active COVID-19 patients, up from 29 on Wednesday, he said. The hospital had a total of 44 COVID-19 patients, an increase of five from Wednesday.
Dr. Hawkinson noted that all area hospitals are seeing a rise of mostly unvaccinated patients.
Six of the health system’s 37 COVID-19 patients are vaccinated, but all six had severe co-morbidities such as obesity, diabetes, heart and lung disease, blood cancer and other conditions causing immunosuppression, according to Dr. Hawkinson.
It is frustrating that the rest of the patients are unvaccinated, he said, because vaccines make it a preventable disease.
The vaccines are “life saving and preventive measures that people still don’t want to take for one reason or another, whether it’s politicized, unfortunately, because nobody should die for their political views,” he said. “Whether it’s still feeling like it’s an experiment, whether there’s those misinformation campaigns about infertility, which are completely false, there are various reasons. But none of those reasons are good enough to override the general fact that these vaccines prevent you from going to the hospital, prevent severe illness and death.”
The recent surge in the Midwest is caused by the lessening of restrictions and the lack of vaccinations, especially in rural areas, he said.
Those who get vaccinated while on chemotherapy don’t have the optimal antibodies and t-cell response and need to continue wearing a mask and social distancing, Dr. Hawkinson said. He added that vaccinated people have a significantly reduced chance of transmitting the virus to others.
Free COVID-19 vaccines available
COVID-19 vaccines will be available at the Monarchs baseball game at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 16, at Legends Field. Those vaccinated will receive a gift and be eligible to enter a raffle to win a 20-person suite at a future baseball game.
The Unified Government Health Department’s central vaccine location at the former Kmart store, 7836 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, will be open to those age 12 and older from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. Walk-ins will be accepted. For more information, 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. There were more than 50 vaccine sites listed within 25 miles of one Wyandotte County Zip Code.
Case numbers reported
There were 37 active COVID-19 patients on Thursday morning at the University of Kansas Health System, an increase of eight from Wednesday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. Nine patients were in the intensive care unit, an increase of one from Wednesday. Four patients were on ventilators, an increase of two since Wednesday. Seven other patients were hospitalized because of COVID-19 but were out of the acute infection phase, a decrease of three from Wednesday. There were a total 44 COVID patients, an increase of five from Wednesday.
Wyandotte County reported a cumulative 19,415 cases on Thursday, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 300 deaths reported, the same as Wednesday.
On Wednesday, July 14, the Unified Government Health Department reported that 37.42 percent of Wyandotte County residents had received at least one dose of vaccine. Those completing their vaccinations totaled 32.49 percent.
The percentage of Wyandotte County residents who were age 12 and older who had received at least one dose was 46 percent.
The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 177,303 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Thursday in the Kansas City region. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 77.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 322,264 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Wednesday, July 14, an increase of 1,155 since July 12. There was a total of 5,196 cumulative deaths reported statewide, an increase of eight since July 12.
The KDHE reported 60,901 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Johnson County on July 14, an increase of 304 since July 12. Leavenworth County had 7,497 cases, an increase of 55 since July 12. Sedgwick County (the Wichita area) reported 58,494 cases, an increase of 113 since July 12.
The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Thursday night reported 33,974,299 COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 608,387 total deaths reported nationwide. There were 31,845 new cases nationwide and 331 new deaths nationwide.
States with high numbers of new cases were Texas, 5,066; California, 2,566; Missouri, 2,255; Arizona, 1,945; and Louisiana, 1,936.
Countries with high numbers of new cases were Brazil, 57,736; Indonesia, 54,517; United Kingdom, 42,183; India, 41,733; and U.S., 31,845, according to Johns Hopkins information.
Free testing available
Free COVID-19 testing is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, July 16, 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.
Besides Health Department sites, free COVID-19 testing is available at several locations in Wyandotte County.
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.
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/2812046135682667.
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.