COVID-19 highlights for the week of 01/17/22:
Cases and hospital admissions for patients with COVID-19 continue to rise well beyond all-time high levels; hospitals face longer patient stays, increased staff absences and unfilled positions.
Children’s Mercy Hospital announced that it will be halting routine COVID-19 testing after it didn’t receive its shipment of testing kits.
Hospitals / Healthcare Systems:
- High overall hospital volume, compounded by staff shortages, is making it more difficult for all patients (with and without COVID) to get care.
- Hospital admissions continue to rise with an average of 255 new COVID hospitalizations per day in the Metro; compared to 153 one month ago.
- Daily average new cases continue
dto increase sharply:
- from 2,074 to 3,012 in the most recent 7-day period in the HCC Metro; compared to 894 one month ago. This is more than double any previous point in the pandemic.
- from 133 to 192 in the most recent 7-day period in the HCC N-S; compared to 130 one month ago.
- Positivity rates have increased sharply.
- Currently between 28% and 38% of tests reported show a positive result as recorded by local public health.
- At-home tests are often not included in these numbers.
- While an increased number of people getting tested helps us to understand community prevalence, the rapidly growing demand 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 due to shortages of space, staff, and supplies.
Increased prevalence of COVID:
- Given the current trajectory, we can anticipate continued increases in cases and hospitalizations throughout the region.
- Mitigation measures (masking, distancing, and vaccinations / boosters) remain our best option to change this trajectory.
- Unvaccinated individuals or those without a booster
What Can I Do?
Limit large scale gatherings to the extent feasible.
Consider postponement, cancellation or virtual alternatives for events and meetings that are not conducive for maintaining social distancing.
Wear a well-fitting mask and wear it correctly – this has an immediate effect on lowering risk of transmission.
- Everyone should wear a mask in public indoor settings. Community levels of transmission are over 13 times higher than the CDC threshold recommending this action in a majority of KC Metro counties (CDC).
- Things to remember that can keep you safer:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, can be secured under your chin, and fits snugly against the sides of your face.
- Select a mask that has a nose wire toprevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.
- 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 – this protects into the future.
- Check with your primary care physician or pediatrician’s office on where to find a vaccine or booster 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).
- Boosters have shown to be especially important in combating the Omicron variant.
- CDC recommends that everyone ages 12 years and older get a booster shot after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
- You are eligible for a booster at 5 months after completing Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna primary series, or 2 months after the initial J&J/Janssen vaccine.
- Individuals ages 12-17 are only eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Reduce the Burden on our Healthcare System
- Minimize community spread: Re-evaluate your activities to reduce the risk of infection.
- Get tested after potential exposures.
- 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 whenever appropriate.