Kansas reported 52 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, and some were a reconciliation of vital statistics, according to Dr. Lee Norman, Kansas secretary of health.
Thirty-seven of the 52 deaths reported on Wednesday were from the reconciliation of vital statistics records, he said. Kansas had 971 more cases since Monday, for a cumulative total of 50,870, Dr. Norman said. The total number of deaths was 586.
Dr. Norman described the process for reporting deaths. He said there are two processes, with the first notification to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment by the local health department or directly from physicians or providers. Also, when death certificates are received by the office of vital statistics, KDHE verifies it and compares it to the disease surveillance system, he said.
Although deaths have to be certified in three days, the cause of the death doesn’t have to be specified by the physician until later. Sometimes there are delays because of autopsies or delays from the physicians, he said. The KDHE often calls the physicians or coroners to check the results, he said.
Dr. Norman said the latest reconciliation has come in through that mechanism, and that they have been reconciling the numbers all throughout the process. They routinely add or subtract numbers, based on their findings.
Dr. Norman said Kansas is clearly in the “red zone,” a term that describes case numbers are too high. The state was at a rate of 147 per 100,000 last week, as compared to the U.S. average of 88 per 100,000 cases, he said. The state is eighth highest in the United States for new case development, he said.
The state is in the “yellow zone,” a caution zone, for positivity of tests, now at 10 percent, he said. The national average is 5 percent, he said. The state is also eighth for that category.
On the amount of viral PCR lab tests that are given, Kansas is in the “green zone,” he said, compared to the region around it. The state has done more tests than the surrounding region.
Dr. Norman also said the state has put its list of outbreak locations on hold for a week after getting a lot of feedback from it. He said they know the public appreciates the transparency ininformation. They also have received some criticism.
He said KDHE is looking at ways of reporting outbreaks that will reflect the current outbreaks, not including all the past case numbers in a location. After a few weeks, COVID-19 patients are not considered to be contagious. The new way of reporting outbreaks will focus on current outbreaks, not cases that are months old.
Reporting the locations of outbreaks provides more transparency for residents, and a way residents can make informed decisions about personal risk, he said.
Dr. Norman said he expected one test to come out that could test for two types of flu and COVID-19 at the same time. It’s also possible a test could come out that also tests for these three and RSV, which has some of the same symptoms as the flu.
He said if a person comes in with symptoms during the flu season, it’s possible they could be tested for flu and COVID-19.
He added he is hoping for a mild flu season, and that the southern hemisphere, which has already had its flu season, had a mild one, with people socially distancing and wearing masks.
Kansas had 971 more cases on Wednesday, for a cumulative total of 50,870, Dr. Norman said. The total number of deaths was 586.
When the 37 revised deaths are subtracted, the state had about 15 more deaths since Monday. Wyandotte County has reported seven deaths since Monday, according to the UG’s COVID-19 website.
Wyandotte County reported an additional 26 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, for a cumulative total of 6,426. There were four additional deaths since Tuesday, for a total of 133, according to the Unified Government COVID-19 website.
The University of Kansas Health System reported 20 acute COVID-19 patients on Wednesday morning, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. There were 22 on Tuesday. Five patients were in the intensive care unit, and there were six there on Tuesday. Five more COVID-19 patients who are not in the acute stage also were still on ventilators. The hospital still has 32 other patients hospitalized because of COVID-19 who are no longer considered acute patients, down from 35 on Tuesday.
New clinic starting at KU
At the KU Health System news conference Wednesday morning, Dr. Doug Girod, KU chancellor, said a new swab COVID-19 clinic is beginning on campus in Lawrence. Also new is a dashboard tracking COVID-19 cases on the KU campus and including Douglas County. The dashboard is at https://protect.ku.edu/data.
After testing all students at the beginning of the fall semester, KU now is changing to testing those who have had symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, according to officials.
Chris Wilson, vice president of system integration and innovation at KU Health System, said 3 percent of the campus population tested positive out of the 26,000 entry tests.
According to Dr. Girod, the positivity rate has changed to about 10 percent of those tested there, as they have changed to testing people with symptoms or COVID-19 contacts.
Asked about the University of Missouri and its announcement of suspensions and expulsions for violating public health directives, Dr. Girod said there is a sequence of events that happens for KU student behavior violations. First the provost office identified public health bans at places, and two Greek houses were put on a public health ban, he said. Now some residents have been put on a public health ban as well. After repeated violations, it can lead to suspension and expulsion, according to Dr. Girod.
Dr. Girod also said they are developing a forecasting tool that will take the data, use it with another tool and predict the COVID-19 rate.
Wilson said they could start with a two-week forecast. That will help them see how they can project needs that will occur on campus in a few weeks, such as clinical capacity, hospitalization and intensive care unit beds. Besides helping with the campus, it will help with resources of the community beyond the campus, he said.
Testing offered Thursday
Free pop-up testing for COVID-19 is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at Quindaro Community Center, 2726 Brown Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, through the Health Equity Task Force and Swope Health.
Another free pop-up test is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at Vibrant Health Argentine location, 1428 S. 32nd, Kansas City, Kansas, through the Health Equity Task Force and Vibrant Health.
Free COVID-19 testing is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Health Department parking lot, 6th and Ann, Kansas City, Kansas, weather permitting.
Check with the UG’s website, Health Department Facebook page or call 311 to see if there are any changes in the schedule. 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.
The KDHE news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/KDHEnews/videos/1976642482472236
The KU doctors’ news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/322720788996313.
The UG COVID-19 webpage is at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.
The KDHE active cluster list is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/160/COVID-19-in-Kansas.
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 new 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.