Number of Kansas counties at high COVID community level nearly triples

Live at Five
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 1:35 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The number of Kansas counties at a “high” COVID community level nearly tripled this week.

The Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment’s weekly update Wednesday shows the seven-day average for new cases trending up throughout July, although the past few days reflect a slight downturn. However, the numbers of new cases still has all but 19 of the state’s 105 counties at a high incidence rate.

The CDC community levels take into account new cases numbers, along with hospitalizations and the number of hospital beds available. Their date shows hospitalizations in Kansas creeping back up during July. In Topeka, Stormont Vail reported 19 COVID-positive inpatients July 5. It was down to 12 July 12, and at 13 in their July 19 update.

Last week’s CDC map had 13 counties at a high community level. This week, 36 counties are considered high. Among them are Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, Brown and Pottawatomie counties.

Shawnee Co. Health Dept. spokesperson Craig Barnes says the county has been seeing a steady rise in cases over the past four months: 215 cases in March, 431 cases in April, 970 cases in May and 1401 cases in June. They’ve had 1,275 cases for the current month through July 19.

Barnes said health officials continue encouraging people to stay home if they are sick, have symptoms, or have contact with a sick person. The Health Dept. continues to offer free rapid COVID-19 testing at a drive-through location near the Health Dept. building at 2701 SW East Circle Dr. Current hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, but Barnes said they may expand hours if demand increases. People may make appointments online here. The county also continues updating other testing locations and community resources on its web sites.

In areas with a high community level, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public, stay up to date with COVID vaccines and get tested if you have symptoms. People who are at high risk of developing severe illness should take extra precautions.

KDHE data shows BA-5 remains the dominant strain in Kansas.

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