Donnelly College nursing students will help give free COVID-19 vaccinations on Saturdays during May and June at the Kansas National Guard Armory, 100 S. 20th, (18th and Ridge), Kansas City, Kansas.
The Armory vaccination clinic, run by the Unified Government Health Department, will be open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 1.
Saturday vaccinations at the Armory are open to people age 18 and older, regardless of where they live or work. Vaccines are provided for free, and health insurance is not required to get vaccinated.
Anyone wishing to be vaccinated can simply walk in and no appointment is needed.
The continued Saturday vaccine clinics are possible because of a partnership between the UG Health Department and Donnelly College, according to a spokesman.
The Saturday hours will be staffed by Donnelly College’s School of Nursing, with planning and logistical support provided by the Health Department. The Health Department’s East vaccination site at the Armory was selected because of the capacity at the site to vaccinate a large number of people and to keep the location consistent with the Saturday clinics in April.
“We know it is hard for people to get away from work or other obligations during the week, so it’s important to keep offering weekend vaccination options,” said Juliann Van Liew, director of the Health Department. “We are incredibly grateful to Donnelly for making it possible to keep Saturday COVID-19 vaccinations going at the Armory in May and June. Our hope is that offering expanded vaccine hours, as well as other supports like free transportation options to and from our vaccine sites, will make vaccines more accessible in our community.”
“We are doing this because we want to help our community become safer against COVID,” said Patricia Palmietto, director of nursing at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. “This also provides a great example for our nursing students on how to help in community settings and how important the smallest things can be.”
Patients being vaccinated for the first time on Saturdays will receive the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which means no need to return for another dose. People who received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Saturday, April 17 or 24, will be able to return to the Armory during the Saturday clinics on May 15 and May 22 to get their second dose of Moderna. Both of these vaccines are only approved for people ages 18 and older.
Request a ride to and from a vaccination site
People who live in Wyandotte County can request transportation assistance to get their COVID-19 vaccination. They can submit a request online at WycoVaccines.org or by calling 3-1-1.
Tips for getting your vaccine
When it’s time for you to get your COVID-19 vaccine, keep these tips in mind:
• Please eat something (even a snack) before getting your vaccination.
• Be prepared to wait in the recovery area for 15-30 minutes after your vaccination
• Wear a short-sleeved or sleeveless shirt so you can be vaccinated more easily (if it’s chilly out, wear a sweater or jacket over your short-sleeved shirt).
COVID-19 cases starting to rise in area
At the Friday morning University of Kansas Health System news conference, doctors noted that there has been an increase recently in the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the metropolitan Kansas City area.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, said the hospital had gone to one COVID-19 intensive care unit for some months, but now has had to spill over to a second COVID-19 intensive care unit again for COVID-19 patients.
Dr. David Wild, vice president of quality and safety, said a year or six months ago, they saw new cases reported in the community, then there was a buffer, which gave them time to prepare for new patients. Now, they’re seeing almost an immediate increase in hospitalizations after an increase in new cases, he said. That tells him that they’re not testing enough, he added. A lot of people are waiting until they are very ill to be tested, he said.
Dr. Wild said they are seeing younger people in the hospital now, as much of the population older than 65 has been vaccinated. The same groups that make up the unvaccinated in the community are the ages that are now in the hospital. That is a trend other hospitals also are seeing in the metropolitan area, he said.
He said that masks matter, and that students can go back to school, and will be safe in the classrooms. But it’s the activities, eating and sports, when they take off their masks, where the virus can spread, he said.
“No one wants to wear a mask, but the virus does not care about that,” Dr. Hawkinson said. “At this time, we still have to do that.”
Unvaccinated people are especially at risk indoors, he said. Masks should continue to be worn indoors, and people should get vaccinated.
Dr. Wild mentioned that regulations on mask-wearing and distancing have been loosened across the metro area this week. One of the places where regulations were loosened was Wyandotte County, where commissioners passed an ordinance April 29. Information about it is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/updatedwycomaskorder04302021.pdf.
“We know what works to prevent transmission of this disease and to keep people out of the hospital, and those things haven’t changed,” Dr. Wild said. The only thing that has changed is that vaccinations have been added to the list of what works.
‘The rules have not changed,” he said. “The virus is still here, it has not gone away.”
Dr. Hawkinson said when the mask mandates ended in Texas, there were still a lot of businesses and communities that continued to do masking, especially in close situations.
“We need businesses and private entities to endorse and recommend the mask mandates, so we can get back to normalcy,” Dr. Hawkinson said.
While everyone wants to get back to normal and stop wearing masks, “the virus hasn’t gotten that memo yet, so we still need to take those precautions to keep people safe,” he said.
Other sites available for vaccination
KU Health System offers free vaccinations seven days a week at different locations. Appointments are required. Current patients may use MyChart to make an appointment. Others may call 913-588-1227 or visit kansashealthsystem.com/vaccine to see if vaccines are available.
The University of Kansas Health System also is open to anyone. People can call to get an appointment whether they are patients or not at the health system.
There are also pharmacies giving free COVID-19 vaccinations in Wyandotte County by appointment, when available. These include Price Chopper and Hen House pharmacy at 76th and State Avenue, and 81st and State Avenue (see https://www.ballsfoodspharmacy.com/), and Medicine Shoppe pharmacy at 65th and Parallel by appointment when available (see https://www.facebook.com/The-Medicine-Shoppe-Kansas-City-281548241870522). CVS pharmacy also has announced that it will offer COVID-19 vaccines at one of its stores in Kansas City, Kansas. Registration is at CVS.com.
Other pharmacies and sites giving vaccines are listed at vaccinefinder.org.
Case numbers reported
The University of Kansas Health System reported a jump in COVID-19 patients Friday. There were 17 active COVID-19 patients on Friday morning, an increase of four from Thursday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. Of the 17 patients, nine were in the intensive care unit, an increase of three from Thursday. Three patients were on a ventilator, no change from Thursday. There were another 14 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized but are out of the acute infection phase, an increase of two from Thursday. There is a total 31 patients, an increase of six since Thursday.
Wyandotte County reported an increase of 18 COVID-19 cases on Friday, April 30, for a cumulative 18,456 cases, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 290 deaths reported, no change from Thursday.
The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 170,265 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Thursday. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 63. The number of cumulative deaths was 2,390.
KDHE reported 309.130 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Friday, April 30, an increase of 620 cases since Wednesday. There were a total cumulative 4,982 deaths reported statewide, an increase of four.
KDHE reported that Johnson County had 57,888 cumulative cases on Friday, an increase of 181 cases since Wednesday. Leavenworth County had 7,188 cumulative cases, an increase of 10 cases since Wednesday.
The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Friday night reported 32,345,062 cumulative COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 575,921 total deaths reported nationwide. There were 58,199 new cases nationwide and 854 new deaths nationwide.
States with the highest number of new cases were Florida, 5,666; Michigan, 4,197; New York, 3,897; Texas, 3,619; and Illinois, 3,398, according to the Johns Hopkins information.
Countries with the highest number of new cases were India, 386,555; Brazil, 69,389; U.S., 58,199; Turkey, 37,674; and France, 26,548, according to the Johns Hopkins information.
Free testing available Saturday
One of the sites for free COVID-19 testing is open beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 1, at Lowe’s at 6920 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The tests are through WellHealth. Appointments are required. For more information, to see other testing sites and to make an appointment, visit https://www.gogettested.com/kansas.
For information about UG Health Department COVID-19 testing sites and hours, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19. To see if there is any change to the schedule, visit https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept. Appointments are not needed.
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. There are more test sites listed on this page.
Saliva testing is now offered at the UG Health Department. For more information, visit https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/02042021-ugphd-saliva-testing-available.pdf.
The KU doctors’ news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/1155035218295234
The University of Kansas Health System COVID-19 update page is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/292961702392386.
A weekly vaccine report for the state of Kansas is at
Information about the new mask ordinance passed April 29, which loosened restrictions in Wyandotte County, is online at https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/updatedwycomaskorder04302021.pdf.
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 Johns Hopkins Data in Motion, a presentation on critical COVID-19 data in the past 24 hours, is at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/covid-19-daily-video.