Doctors urge people to get flu shots

Wyandotte County reported an increase of 44 COVID-19 cases on Friday afternoon, for a cumulative total of 6,290, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 webpage. There was one additional death, for a cumulative 120. (From UG COVID-19 website)

Doctors are urging people to get flu shots this year, usually around October or when the shots become available.

If patients have COVID-19 or similar symptoms and have been isolated, they would want to wait at least 10 to 14 days or later since the start of the symptoms to get a flu shot, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System.

“If you are still suffering from a fever, it wouldn’t be a good time to get a flu shot,” said Amanda Gartner, RN, director of quality and safety at the University of Kansas Health System.

Sometimes people get mild symptoms of flu after a flu shot, and may have muscle aches, fatigue and a fever, she said.

The first 24 to 48 hours after a flu shot would be an anticipated symptom following the vaccine and not a reason to suspect you have COVID-19, she said, and so people should probably monitor it 24 to 48 hours.

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer of the KU Health System, said he thinks the number of flu cases will be lower this year. He said he based his prediction on an Australian study that showed the number of flu cases declined there because of mask-wearing this year.

“We know that the mask culture here in the United States, depending on what community you live in, is a little different from others,” Dr. Hawkinson said.

The steps to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 have decreased influenza cases in other countries, he said. Masks have made a difference, and also there might have been a decrease in the number of people wanting to seek treatment, he said.

“As we can continue to endorse our message of masking, not meeting in large groups, physical distancing, that will also help decrease the spread of influenza as well,” Dr. Hawkinson said.

The doctors answered questions at their video news conference on Friday morning.

They were asked if a person who attended a sporting event with hundreds or thousands of people in attendance should quarantine.

Gartner said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has mandatory advice if people attended a large venue.

The KDHE travel quarantine list says that those who have attended a mass gathering event out-of-state of 500 people or more, where individuals do not socially distance and wear masks, should quarantine for 14 days after they have arrived back in Kansas.

If they were able to socially distance and wear masks, they would not have to quarantine.

The doctors noted there wasn’t as much mask-wearing in the stands at the Chiefs game in the fourth quarter on Thursday night as there was at the start of the game.

The University of Kansas Health System reported 22 acute COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Friday morning, with four in the intensive care unit and two on the ventilator, according to Dr. Hawkinson. There were five patients on the ventilator who are considered to be in COVID-19 recovery status, he said, and 29 to 30 patients in active recovery status.

Wyandotte County reported an increase of 44 COVID-19 cases on Friday afternoon, for a cumulative total of 6,290, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 webpage. There was one additional death, for a cumulative 120.

On Friday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that Johnson County had the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state, with a cumulative 9,350. It was an increase of 203 cases since Wednesday.

According to KDHE information, some of the other counties with high numbers of cases, besides Johnson and Wyandotte, included Sedgwick, 7,839; Ford, 2,486; Shawnee, 2,448; Finney, 1,835; Leavenworth, 1,819; Douglas, 1,709; Seward, 1,356; Riley, 1,120; Lyon, 911; Reno, 893; Crawford, 855; Butler, 712; Ellis, 685; and Saline, 525.

The KC Region COVID-19 Resource Hub reported 36,747 total cumulative cases in the nine-county region.

The KU doctors’ news conference is at

The UG COVID-19 webpage is at

The KDHE active cluster list is at

The Unified Government COVID-19 hub outbreak map is at

To see an NEA list of schools that have had COVID-19 cases, visit

The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at

The Unified Government Health Department is collecting input on people’s experiences getting tested for COVID-19 in Wyandotte County. The survey is on the UG website at

The UG Health Department new school and sports guidance is online at

A previous UG sports order is online at

The Wyandotte County school start order is online at

Wyandotte County is under a mandatory mask order and is in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. For more information, residents may visit the UG COVID-19 website at or call 311 for more information.

The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at

The CDC’s COVID-19 webpage is at

CVS adds COVID-19 testing for children

CVS has announced it will add COVID-19 testing for children beginning today.

Children age 12 and older are eligible for COVID-19 testing at more than 2,000 drive-through testing sites at select CVS Pharmacy locations, according to an announcement by the company.

CVS added one new testing site at a Wyandotte County CVS pharmacy, at 4645 Shawnee Drive, Kansas City, Kansas.

Testing also is available at CVS locations at 950 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, and 3750 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, as well as at several other CVS locations in Greater Kansas City.

There are no walk-in appointments, but people are asked to make appointments at The hours of testing are listed online.

According to a CVS spokesman, it is expanding its third party lab partners and should have most results available within two to three days.

When they arrive at the testing location, patients are asked to follow the signs. Testing takes place inside the person’s vehicle, and they are handed a swab through a drive-through window or tent in the parking lot. They self-administer the test and then return it at the site.

Many of the people who are tested qualify for free tests, or have insurance that covers it.

Registration is at

State’s emergency declaration extended

The Kansas disaster emergency declaration was extended today after a lengthy State Finance Council meeting.

The governor reported today that the Kansas death toll from COVID-19 rose by 16 deaths since Wednesday. It now totals 511. There is a cumulative total of 48,386 cases in the state, an increase of 976 cases since Wednesday.

The Republican-controlled council challenged Gov. Laura Kelly’s proposal to pass a renewal of the emergency declaration. Without the renewal, the governor said, federal assistance and also Kansas National Guard assistance in fighting COVID-19 in Kansas would end.

When asked, the governor told the council that she did not have the intention of closing any businesses. She said she would state that in a news release, but it was not necessary to add it to the emergency declaration.

State Sen Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, advocated for a clause to be inserted into the emergency declaration that the governor would not close any businesses.

Some of the legislators had been pressured by business groups in the state not to approve an extension that would allow any businesses to be closed.

But that was a moot point, according to an attorney. The governor’s attorney told the council it was not necessary to add the clause because a state law, H.B. 2016, already makes it very difficult to close any businesses, and the rare cases that businesses could be closed are laid out in detail in that statute. The statute limited the governor’s authority and was a compromise that was worked out months ago by the governor and Legislature. The governor’s attorney said putting a clause into the declaration today could cause some confusion between the law already in place and the declaration.

After hours of discussion, Gov. Kelly agreed to add a clause written by her attorney, that any restrictions regarding closure of businesses in the Kansas Emergency Management Act remain in place, and the governor does not intend to use her authority to close businesses.

House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, a Republican from Wichita who is a member of the council, voted for the revised declaration because there might be criminals who would be let go if it wasn’t passed. Under the emergency declaration, the state courts can decide to extend deadlines for cases.

The approval of the emergency declaration also allowed Gov. Kelly to extend the emergency orders that already have been approved.

Under the agreement reached previously with legislators, the governor can only extend the emergency declaration for 30 days at a time, and it goes before the State Finance Council for approval. The state of emergency would have expired Sept. 15 without the approval.

During the discussion, Gov. Kelly told the council that she had received a call from Dr. Deborah Birx with the White House Coronavirus Task Force stating that Kansas was in the “red zone” and suggesting mitigation techniques. Kansas is ranked eighth in the nation for its high positivity rate. The positivity rate is the number of positive COVID-19 tests divided by the total number of tests. The governor and council members agreed that if they did more testing that included nonsymptomatic people, the rate might decrease in Kansas. Usually, except for university admission health testing, COVID-19 tests in the state have been limited to people with symptoms and those who have been exposed.