UG Health Department loosens COVID-19 gathering guidance; more than 50 percent of residents vaccinated

Previous gathering guidance for Kansas City, Kansas, is being loosened because of improved COVID-19 numbers and increased vaccination rates.

However, the mask mandate remains in place for indoor public spaces in Kansas City, Kansas, through Nov. 18.

The Unified Government Health Department announced Thursday that more than 50 percent of people living in Wyandotte County have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The data was from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Other COVID-19 numbers have improved after a surge in COVID-19 cases this summer and early fall:

• 29 new COVID-19 cases per day (7-day rolling average, down from more than 100 cases per day in August).
• 18% positivity of COVID-19 tests (7-day rolling average, down from nearly 40% in August).

“Reaching 50% of people vaccinated in Wyandotte County is an important milestone for our community,” said Juliann Van Liew, director of the UG Health Department, in a news release. “Early in the pandemic, our vaccination numbers lagged sorely behind other parts of the state and the metro. But I’m happy to say we’ve made immense progress this year in bringing those numbers up. We still have work to do to get closer to herd immunity, but with the ongoing dedication of our amazing health department team, partner agencies, and community members, we hope to see COVID risk continue to go down in our county.”

Guidance on gatherings loosened

The UG Health Department also announced today that it has loosened its guidance on social gatherings. The Health Department continues to encourage caution when gathering with people outside of one’s household.

“The COVID situation in Wyandotte County has improved significantly in the past couple of months, with a combination of masking, vaccination, and people taking other COVID precautions,” said Dr. Allen Greiner, chief health officer with the UG Health Department. “Cases are down, and we are starting to see hospitalizations go down as well in the metro. We can’t throw caution to the wind just yet – we don’t want to see our hospitals get overwhelmed again, especially going into the holidays this winter. But we are at a point now where we can loosen up a bit when it comes to social gatherings. Just remember that gatherings are safest when everyone involved is vaccinated and masked, especially when indoors. Outdoor gatherings are a safer option, weather permitting.”

On Aug. 25, the Health Department issued guidance on social gatherings in light of the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, including urging individuals to significantly limit the number of people in gatherings. This more cautious guidance has been withdrawn in light of the recent reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

When gathering with people who do not live in your household, the UG Health Department encourages people to keep the following in mind:

• Gatherings are safest when everyone present is fully vaccinated.
• Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings, as COVID spreads more easily indoors.
• Masks can make gatherings safer, especially indoor gatherings. This is particularly important if some people present are not vaccinated. Please note that Kansas City, Kansas, remains under a mask mandate for public indoor spaces.

If a business, organization, or group is planning a large event and would like guidance from the Health Department on COVID-19 safety for the event, they can email epidemiology@wycokck.org or call 913-573-6712 for assistance.

Free vaccinations and testing

The UG Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccines for people who live in Wyandotte County age 12 and older, at the former Kmart site at 7836 State Ave. Hours for COVID-19 vaccinations and testing:

• COVID vaccines: Wednesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• COVID testing: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

For more information on where to get vaccinated in Wyandotte County, visit WycoVaccines.org or call 3-1-1. To learn more about upcoming Health Department mobile vaccination events visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/UGHealthDept.

To search for additional vaccine providers by location and type of vaccine, go to vaccines.gov.

Vaccines, tests also available at other locations

COVID-19 testing from WellHealth will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, and Friday, Oct. 15, at the Kansas National Guard Armory, 100 S. 20th, Kansas City, Kansas. 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 https://www.gogettested.com/kansas.

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

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 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.

Case numbers reported

The University of Kansas Health System reported 48 total COVID-19 patients on Thursday, Oct. 14, the same as Wednesday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. Fourteen patients with the active virus were inpatients on Thursday, a decrease of three from Wednesday. Six patients were in the intensive care unit, a decrease of one from Wednesday. All six patients were on ventilators on Thursday, an increase of one from Wednesday. Thirty-four other patients were still hospitalized from COVID, but were out of the acute infection phase, an increase of three from Wednesday.

Wyandotte County reported a cumulative 24,367 cases on Thursday, Oct. 14, an increase of 36 cases since Wednesday, Oct. 13, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There were a cumulative total of 371 deaths on Thursday, an increase of one since Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, the Unified Government Health Department reported that 50.2 percent of Wyandotte County residents had received at least one dose of vaccine. Those completing their vaccinations totaled about 43.76 percent.
The percentage of Wyandotte County residents who were age 12 and older who had received at least one dose was 61.8 percent.

The Mid-America Regional Council reported 220,528 cumulative cases on Wednesday in Greater Kansas City, a nine-county area. There were a cumulative total of 3,030 deaths. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 86.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 421,462 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Wednesday, Oct. 13, an increase of 2,121 since Monday, Oct. 11. There was a total of 6,151 cumulative deaths reported statewide, an increase of nine from Monday.

The KDHE reported 76,453 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Johnson County on Wednesday, Oct. 13, an increase of 251 since Oct. 11. Leavenworth County had 10,147 cases on Oct. 13, an increase of 35 since Oct. 11. Sedgwick County (the Wichita area) reported 79,148 cases on Oct. 13, an increase of 455 since Oct. 11.

On Wednesday night, there were a cumulative 44,683,014 COVID-19 cases in the United States, with a cumulative 719,525 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Fifty-seven percent of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated, according to the center.

Links


To view a University of Kansas Health System video, visit https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/902822773651914.

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 testing 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://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept or call 3-1-1.

To view details about the extension of the mask order in KCK until Nov. 18, visit
https://www.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/ug_extendsmaskmandate_nr_09102021.pdf.

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