COVID-19 positivity rates explained

A graph on the UG COVID-19 web hub showed 7-day rolling averages for positive test percentages. It showed a 7-day rolling average of 14 percent positive test percentage for Sept. 23 in Wyandotte County. The graph is at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/.
On Friday afternoon, the Unified Government COVID-19 website reported 39 additional COVID-19 cases, for a cumulative total of 6,739. There were no additional deaths reported, for a cumulative total of 134, according to the UG website. (From UG COVID-19 website)
Kansas reported 1,366 additional COVID-19 cases since Wednesday, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, for a cumulative total of 56,592. There were 11 additional deaths, for a cumulative total of 632. (From KDHE COVID-19 website)

Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System news conference on Friday explained positivity rates.

In answer to a question about hearing different rates for Johnson County, Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, explained that people may hear different rates on when the report was made, where it’s coming from and if it was the positivity rate for overall case numbers, or if it was a two-week or seven-day rate.

The figures may change several times a day because some departments get case numbers in at different times, also.

The positivity rate is the number of positive COVID-19 cases over the number of tests.

Some weeks ago, officials from the White House Task Force on the Coronavirus were urging this region to get its positivity rate under 5 percent. Increased testing may drive down the percent positivity rate, according to Dr. Hawkinson.

Dr. Hawkinson said when more people are tested, they are better able to understand how much more the disease is spreading in the community. Sometimes there are delays in reporting the numbers, and the numbers change frequently, he said.

The positivity rate is often used as one of the measures for reopening schools and communities.

Amanda Gartner, RN, director of quality and safety at KU Health System, said regardless if the community has a 6, 8, 10 or 12 percent positivity rate, it’s still very high and it shows the virus is active in the community.

The Unified Government’s COVID-19 web hub lists the positivity rate at 17.5 percent for all cases in Wyandotte County, going back to March.

A graph on the UG COVID-19 web hub showed 7-day rolling averages for positive test percentages. It showed a 7-day rolling average of 14 percent positive test percentage for Sept. 23 in Wyandotte County. The graph is at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has two-week positivity case rates by county at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/160/COVID-19-in-Kansas. For the week beginning Sept. 20, Wyandotte County had an 8.41 percent positivity rate, according to the KDHE.

The state of Kansas has a 7.39 percent positivity rate for the week beginning Sept. 20 for the entire state, according to the KDHE figures.

The Mid-America Regional Council KC Regional COVID-19 hub reports on the Kansas City metro area. It includes nine counties plus Kansas City, Missouri.

According to the KC Regional hub, the positivity rate for the Kansas City metro area on Sept. 25 was 13 percent. The website is at https://marc2.org/covidhub/.

The University of Kansas Health System reported 23 acute COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Friday morning, up from 21 on Thursday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. There were six patients in the intensive care unit, a decrease of two since Thursday, and three patients on ventilators, an increase of one since Thursday. Also, 22 other COVID-19 patients who are not in the acute infection phase were in KU Health System. HaysMed reported 17 COVID-19 patients, including 15 in the acute phase and two in the recovery stage.

On Friday afternoon, the Unified Government COVID-19 website reported 39 additional COVID-19 cases, for a cumulative total of 6,739. There were no additional deaths reported, for a cumulative total of 134, according to the UG website.

Kansas reported 1,366 additional COVID-19 cases since Wednesday, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, for a cumulative total of 56,592. There were 11 additional deaths, for a cumulative total of 632.

A new UG Health Department COVID-19 schedule for free testing in October has been released. (From UG COVID-19 website, https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.b.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19)

Free testing continues Saturday

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 26, at La Fe en Jesucristo, 1500 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.

The pop-up tests are through the Health Equity Task Force and Vibrant Health.

The pop-up tests and the Health Department 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.


The Health Department now has released its testing schedule for October, and it is online at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19.

More information about testing is at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19, or call 311.


The KU doctors’ news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/345495976875884.


The UG COVID-19 webpage is at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.


The Unified Government COVID-19 hub outbreak map at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/.


To see an NEA list of schools that have had COVID-19 cases, visit https://app.smartsheet.com/b/publish?EQBCT=aa3f2ede7cb2415db943fdaf45866d2f.


The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at https://marc2.org/covidhub/.


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 https://us.openforms.com/Form/ea97a450-3d74-4d86-8d1f-6e340d55cf7c.


The UG Health Department school and sports guidance is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/09042020fallsportsrecommendations.pdf.


A previous UG sports order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/08132020localhealthofficerorderregardingsports.pdf.


The Wyandotte County school start order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.


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 https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information or call 311 for more information.


The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/.


The CDC’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

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