Kansas really in top tier of states for vaccine distribution, health secretary says

Dr. Lee Norman, Kansas health secretary, said Tuesday morning that, contrary to reports, Kansas is really in the top tier for vaccine distribution.

Earlier reports had placed Kansas closer to the bottom, but those reports didn’t account for the difficulties that providers were having in entering information into programs, according to Dr. Norman.

“We were never 50th out of 50,” he said. “We pushed out vaccine as soon as we got it, and it went into arms almost as soon as they got it at 278 sites.”

The problem was that some health care workers did not know how to use the software to report vaccine distribution, or they just didn’t complete it.

Dr. Norman said 179,000 doses have gone out in Kansas. The state is now in the top tier and as more vaccine comes in, it could be higher.

Dr. Norman made his remarks at the University of Kansas Health System media update Tuesday morning.

He said he expects the second phase to be ready by the end of January. That phase could last two months. It would include those who are 65 and older.

Dr. Norman also said that Kansas is not holding back doses for second shots because vaccine is arriving each day.

Dr. Norman referred residents to the website, kansasvaccine.gov, which has information about the vaccine. That website reported more than 84,000 doses had been administered by Jan. 11 in Kansas.

The CDC’s COVID Data Tracker also shows how many people in each state are getting the vaccine, at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days, he said.

Dr. Norman urged people to get the vaccine, and to ask a trusted person for advice on getting the vaccine.

Also at the Tuesday news conference, Dr. Mario Castro, pulmonologist, said there is a new trial with two monoclonal antibody therapies.

The clinical trial will give the antibodies to people in the early stages of COVID-19, while they are outpatients.

They have space in the trials for those older than 65, and those under 60 who were smokers or who had obesity, high blood pressure, active cancer, chronic lung disease, kidney or liver disease.

Dr. Castro said people can enroll as soon as they get a positive COVID-19 test result. Those interested in enrolling or receiving more information may call Luigi Boccardi, study coordinator, at 913-588-4022.

COVID-19 case numbers

There were 64 active COVID-19 patients in the hospital Tuesday, a decrease of two since Monday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. There were 23 patients in the ICU, no change from Monday, and 13 on ventilators Tuesday morning, a decrease of one since Monday. In addition, 51 other patients were still in the hospital but out of the acute phase, a decrease of five since Monday. There was a total of 115 COVID-19 patients at KU Health System, a decrease of seven since Monday.

Wyandotte County reported an increase of 108 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Jan. 12, according to the Unified Government’s COVID-19 webpage. There were a cumulative 15,723 cases. There was one additional death reported Tuesday, for a cumulative total of 209.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 135,526 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. There were 1,642 deaths, and 155 was the daily average of new hospitalizations.

The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday reported 22,846,796 total cumulative cases in the United States, with 380,796 total deaths nationwide.

Free COVID-19 testing available Wednesday

The Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 test site at the former Kmart building at 78th and State will be open on Wednesday, Jan. 13, with testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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
that you live or work in Wyandotte County, such as a utility bill.

COVID-19 tests will be available from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Pierson Community Center parking lot, 1800 S. 55th St., Kansas City, Kansas. Hours are subject to change depending on the weather and other factors. These tests are through WellHealth Management. For more information and to schedule a test, visit www.GoGetTested.com/Kansas.

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 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.

The KU doctors’ news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=250792356401798&ref=watch_permalink.

The school health order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/localhealthofficerschoolorder01042021.pdf.

A letter explaining the school health order is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/schoolletter_01052021_english.pdf.

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

Wyandotte County residents who are interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine may sign up at https://us.openforms.com/Form/2f2bcc68-3b6a-450b-9007-d39819db6572.

The KDHE vaccine report is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1708/COVID-19-Vaccine-Updates–123020-FINAL-PDF?bidId=.

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.

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