COVID-19 highlights for the week of 01/10/2022:
- High overall hospital volume, together with staff shortages, is threatening standards of care.
- Hospital admissions are at their highest level during any point in the pandemic; from 195 to 211 in the Metro and from 9 to 12 in the N-S.
- Positivity rates have increased sharply. Currently between 16% and 35% of tests reported show a positive result as recorded by local public health. At-home tests are often not included in these numbers.
- According to our Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) the strain on our regional hospital system is due almost exclusively to cases among unvaccinated individuals.
- This burden on the health care system is further compounded by the number of open staff positions and the numbers of staff who are absent due to COVID and Influenza.
- The 7-day average of cases has risen sharply in the past week,
- from 923 to 2033 In the HCC Metro, more than doubling, and
- from 116 to 133 in the HCC N-S.
- The 7-day running average of tests conducted in both HCCs has increased from 3553 to 6040 giving us a better view of the extent of COVID’s reach and hot spots.
- This increase is improving our awareness of COVID’s progress, it is putting a severe strain on testing available in hospitals, public health departments, and other sites including retail stores selling at-home test kits.
What Can I Expect?
Diminishing Standards of Care:
- Longer wait times for emergency services and a decreased availability of local hospital beds.
- Reduction of non-life-threatening medical procedures in hospitals.
- A continuing increase in the number of fatalities due to COVID-19.
Increased prevalence of COVID:
- Given the current trajectory, we can anticipate continued increases in cases, deaths, and hospitalizations throughout the region.
- Mitigation measures (masking, distancing, and vaccinations / boosters) remain our best option to change this trajectory.
- If you are a child or elderly, unvaccinated or without a booster, sick or immunocompromised then you have a greater risk of contracting COVID.
What Can I Do?
Wear a well-fitting mask and wear it correctly
- CDC guidance recommends that everyone in communities with high or substantial levels of community transmission wear a mask in public indoor settings (CDC).
Every one of our jurisdictions are experiencing high levels of community transmission.
- Things to remember that can keep you safer:
- Select a mask that has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric and that has a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth and can be secured under your chin; one that fits snugly against the sides of your face.
- Visit the CDC’s page “Your Guide to Masks; How to select, properly wear, clean, and store masks” for a “how-to” of all things to do with masking – especially as a tool to fight Omicron.
Get vaccinated or get your vaccine booster
- Although the effect may not be immediate, this is the single most important action you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Check with your primary care physician or pediatrician’s office on where to find a vaccine near you.
- You may also visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233; or visit Prepare Metro KC (preparemetrokc.org).
Minimize your risk
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Re-evaluate your activities to reduce the risk of infection.
- Get tested after potential exposures.
- Do not use ERs for COVID-19 testing if you do not have symptoms. Visit PrepareMetroKC to see testing locations near you. If you cannot get tested and have been exposed, take additional precautions until you are able to test.
- Continue to follow your local public health guidance regarding isolation and quarantine.
- Use your Primary Care Physician or an Urgent Care Facility as an alternative to Emergency Rooms when appropriate.