COVID-19 vaccines expected to begin mid-week for UG Health Department front-line workers

The Unified Government Health Department expects to receive about 800 doses of COVID-19 vaccine at the Health Department’s testing site at the former Kmart store at 78th and State Avenue.

Health Department Director Juliann Van Liew said on a social media video Thursday, Dec. 17, that it could be Dec. 22 or 23 when the Health Department would receive the vaccines.

“We are ready for them,” she said in the video.

They first will vaccinate the Health Department public health care workers who have been testing people all these months, she said. Behind them will be the public and private EMS workers in Wyandotte County, she said.

Those vaccinations will probably take a few weeks, then they will vaccinate a broader health care associated work force in Wyandotte County, she said. Those include not just doctors and nurses, but also custodial staff, office personnel, in-person interpreters and others who work in the clinics and health care settings who may come into contact with COVID-19.

Van Liew said they don’t have full details to share immediately on the next phase of vaccinations, as some decisions are being made at the state level.

The phase after the health care work force includes essential workers, persons 65 and older and those who may be at risk because of pre-existing conditions, she said. However, that is a large number in the community and makes it difficult to prioritize, she said. She hoped that KDHE would be coming forward with additional guidelines.

Dr. Erin Corriveau, deputy medical officer for Wyandotte County, said that within Wyandotte County, the health care equity task force is working with an ethicist on this issue, in case local health departments or communities are asked to make the decision on who would be vaccinated next in Wyandotte County.

Hospitals in Wyandotte County have already started vaccinations for their front-line health care workers, she said. Since she also works in the emergency room at KU Health System, Dr. Corriveau received her COVID-19 vaccination on Thursday, and said she feels great.

Nursing home staff and residents also are prioritized to get vaccines, and will be getting vaccines from pharmacies.

She encouraged everyone to get a vaccine when they are available.

Van Liew also said it is important to keep wearing masks.

Dr. Corriveau said she still will wear a mask, and that it’s extremely important. While in a few weeks she may be protected from the coronavirus, she doesn’t know if she were to catch a mild case of the virus, if she would be able to pass it on to others. That’s a reason to keep wearing the mask.

Only a week or two after the second vaccine dose will people get a 95 percent protection from the coronavirus, she said.

Health Department officials said if people plan to get together at the holidays, they should keep gatherings very small and consider getting tested two or three days in advance for COVID-19. The Health Department testing site at 78th and State is open normal hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and will have shorter hours on Christmas Eve for COVID-19 tests, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and will be closed Christmas Day.

To see the Health Department video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypLeD6oNMMQ&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1_sTOhvSvFYU5xn_NJfgRwGx0-3p9x_ZgZKFeGjFVtAUjIcoxFGkIzzHM.

Stimulus checks may be given again to Americans

Major news media are reporting that the U.S. Senate on Sunday has reached an agreement on a coronavirus relief bill, and the House and Senate could vote on it Monday. The bill reportedly has provisions for an additional check for most Americans, additional funds for unemployment, help for businesses, more funding for health care providers, more funds for schools, and assistance for renters who may be evicted. There are some details that still may need to be worked out.

In a Facebook post Dec. 18, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., discussed the progress made on the coronavirus relief package. She supported funds for increased testing and personal protective equipment for front-line workers, relief for small business, direct payments to Americans, and strong accountability and transparency. She also called for support to local governments.

“Folks are exhausted by the political games that they’re seeing, they’re getting us nowhere,” she said. She said in the social media post that she continued to support a bipartisan effort.

Rep. Davids has been an advocate of the additional stimulus package. She said on Friday that she was committed to getting a deal done as soon as possible.

Her video is at https://www.facebook.com/RepDavids/videos/238381450975761.

Kansas prison inmate with COVID-19 dies

Kansas correctional authorities announced that a Hutchinson Correctional Facility resident died Friday, Dec. 18, who had tested positive for COVID-19. It was the third COVID-19 related resident death at Hutchinson Correctional Facility, and the 12th resident death related to COVID-19 for the Kansas Department of Corrections.

The resident tested positive for the coronavirus Oct. 23 and was transferred to a hospital Nov. 23. He was a 62-year-old male with underlying medical conditions.

An inmate since March 2013, he had been serving a 154-month sentence for aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

COVID-19 case numbers

Wyandotte County reported a cumulative 13,338 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, an increase of 72 cases since Saturday, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 webpage. There were no additional deaths reported, for a cumulative 190.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s Kansas City Region COVID-19 Data Hub reported an increase of 450 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, for a cumulative 112,198 in the nine-county area. The average daily COVID-19 hospitalization rate was 164, the same as Saturday. There were 1,314 cumulative deaths in the nine-county area.

Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Sunday reported 17,844,688 cases in the United States, with 317,668 deaths. It was an increase of 196,627 cases and 1,492 deaths.

Free COVID-19 testing available Monday

Free COVID-19 testing is available from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday at Oak Ridge Baptist Church, 9301 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas.

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

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. There are holiday hours this week. They are open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The test site is open from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Dec. 24, and closed Dec. 25.

Tests are free for those who live or work in Wyandotte County. The tests are nasopharyngeal swab tests. The Health Department no longer uses saliva 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.

Testing sites are at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19.

For test sites, also see https://www.gogettested.com/kansas.


For more information about the testing site at the former Kmart location, visit https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/10092020_newtestingsitewyco.pdf.


To see information about the UG giving vaccines to health care workers next week, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/ug-to-start-giving-covid-19-vaccines-to-health-department-and-ems-personnel-next-week/.


The KDHE vaccine report is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1677/Vaccine-Update-12-16-20.


Cards and letters of encouragement for caregivers at KU Health System may be sent to Share Joy, care of Patient Relations, 4000 Cambridge St., Mailstop 1021, Kansas City, Kansas, 66160. Emails can be sent to ShareJoy@kumc.edu.

Wyandotte County is under a mandatory mask and social distancing order. Also, the 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 https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/11162020localhealthorderexecuted.pdf.


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


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


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


The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at https://bao.arcgis.com/covid-19/jhu/county/20209.html.

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

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