COVID-19 patient count still high at KU Health System

Although there was a slight drop of COVID-19 patients on Tuesday morning at The University of Kansas Health System, the total was still high at 138.

There were 93 active COVID-19 inpatients at the hospital, a decrease from 100 on Monday, with 44 patients in the intensive care unit, down from 46 Monday, and 23 patients on ventilators, down from 26 Monday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. There were 45 other patients who were still hospitalized because of COVID-19 but are considered to be in the recovery phase, up from 39 on Monday. The total of 138 is down from 139 on Monday.

At the KU Health System news conference on Tuesday morning, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas discussed enforcement of the new requirements limiting gatherings to 10 persons, the earlier closing times, and other health measures.

There have recently been reports about plans to legally challenge some of the new requirements, but Mayor Lucas said he is confident they will survive legal challenges.

Lucas said there was heavy enforcement of the health orders in Kansas City, Missouri, through the agency that oversees the liquor laws. This weekend they were out enforceing the mandates and plan to be out again on Thanksgiving, looking for those who are having large parties, he said.

Mayor Lucas also said the city is also trying to help small businesses, with $3 million in small business grants.

He said he would like to see Congress pass a stimulus support for local governments, hospitals and others before the end of this Congressional session and before the inauguration of the next president. It cannot wait, he said.

Taking preventive steps such as wearing a mask, distancing and avoiding large crowds can make a difference, he said.

Mayor Lucas said he and the other leaders of the different cities and counties in the Greater Kansas City area have tried to coordinate their health orders. While there are some, such as Johnson County, that didn’t adopt the same curfews on restaurants and bars, they still are all giving consistent advice about wearing masks, even if some don’t require it, he said. He plans to continue the conversation with the other communities and the governor’s office.

Kansas City, Missouri, will not be requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all its staff, but they may be able to offer some incentives for workers who decide to get the vaccine, he said.

He also said the city plans to educate people about the effectiveness of wearing a mask, distancing and taking other health measures.

Dr. Hawkinson said it’s important to do the health measures in combination, mask wearing plus social distancing plus hand washing and avoiding crowds, and that the health measures work together to stop the spread of the disease.

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System, said people are dying from COVID-19 and some of the survivors have long-term or lifetime problems.

It hurts everyone when one group decides not to follow the rules, Dr. Stites said. The coronavirus does not discriminate or follow borders and if people follow the pillars of infection control they can win, he said. He also said it shows love when people wear a mask this Thanksgiving.

Wyandotte County reported 10,455 total COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Nov. 24, an increase of 117 cases since Monday, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 webpage. There were 177 deaths.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s KC Region COVID-19 dashboard reported the Greater Kansas City area, a nine-county area, had 84,264 cases on Tuesday, an increase of 1,444 cases since Monday. There were 17 newly reported deaths in the nine-county area, The daily average of new hospitalizations was 169, an increase since Monday.

There were 12,597,330 cases in the United States on Tuesday, and a total of 259,962 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.

Free COVID-19 testing available on Wednesday

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, at Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.

The pop-up test is through Vibrant Health and the Wyandotte County Health Equity Task Force.

The Unified Government Health Department has moved its COVID-19 testing from the 6th and Ann location to the former Kmart at 78th and State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. The hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The test site will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Tests are free for those who live or work in Wyandotte County. The tests are now saliva COVID-19 tests.

The tests now are open to asymptomatic people as well as those who have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Check with the UG Health Department’s Facebook page to see if there have been any changes in the schedule. Bring something that shows that you live or work in Wyandotte County, such as a utility bill.

For more information about the testing site at the former Kmart location, visit

The KU doctors’ news conference is at

The new Wyandotte County health order with a limit of 10 persons to a gathering, and a closing time of 10 p.m. for restaurants and bars, with other new restrictions, is at

The UG COVID-19 webpage is at

The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at

The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at

The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at

The CDC’s COVID-19 webpage is at

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