Seeing more of a return to normal with vaccinations

While the pandemic has been devastating to people and changed their lives, Rep. Sharice Davids said Tuesday that she is starting to see a return to normal with vaccinations.

People are starting to be able to hug their families again, she said at the Tuesday morning news conference at the University of Kansas Health System.

“Things are starting to feel a little more like normal…the sun’s coming through the clouds here,” Rep. Davids, D-3rd Dist., said.

Federal update

When asked what she was most proud of, she said it was the COVID-19 relief bills from the federal government for businesses and individuals.

She does not think that the data shows unemployment benefits are keeping people at home and away from work, and said the assistance has been a lifeline for many people.

Rep. Davids has been working to keep telehealth alive, as it has been vital to those in smaller communities during the pandemic. It won’t be possible unless people can access it from home, and since broadband internet access is critical, she is also working to expand it.

She also said she felt that getting vaccinated was setting a good example, and she urged everyone to get vaccinated.

State update

With the Kansas emergency declaration expiring on June 15, Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of health, said Tuesday morning that the effects of the expiration will be mostly unseen by the public. The Legislature allowed the state of emergency declaration to expire.

“It doesn’t mean the virus has magically gone away,” Dr. Norman said. Kansas is still recording about 100 new COVID-19 cases per day, with one to three deaths every day, he said.

“If we had one to three deaths per day from something else that was preventable, there would be rioting in the streets,” Dr. Norman said.

About 50 percent of Kansas residents are fully vaccinated, but the state probably won’t reach the president’s goal of 70 percent by July 4, he said.

Last weekend was the 500th day of the state’s emergency operations. When the state emergency order is lifted, contact tracing and vaccinations will still continue, he said. The state will lose its National Guard troops helping with the COVID-19 efforts, however, he said. Then they will probably use contract nurses to continue the work, he added. The state may have to use services like FedEx or UPS for transporting.

They are sorting out the situation and will present a plan to the governor, he added. The state will receive federal monies for vaccination and testing regardless of the state of emergency, he said.

While he was glad to see schools starting to ramp up vaccinations, he felt masks will still be necessary in classrooms. CDC guidance states that unvaccinated people should wear masks, and that would apply to the 420,000 Kansas children under 12 who have no approved vaccine yet, he said.

All of the virus variants, including the ones found in hot spots in rural Missouri, can also be found in Kansas, Dr. Norman said. Wastewater testing and air sampling allows the state to find out where the virus is currently.

Dr. Norman said the COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental. With more than a billion doses safely given, the vaccines are some of the most tested products in modern history, he said.

“The fact it doesn’t have full FDA approval, and they will, the fact that they don’t, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s experimental,” he said. “I think that conjures up something that’s maybe not intended, but I think it is used occasionally to dissuade people. But this is really not an experiment, it’s a very well-established vaccine.”

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System, said that vaccination is the way out of the pandemic.

He said the Race to End COVID-19 last weekend at the Kansas Speedway offered incentives to getting vaccinations, and it resulted in 166 vaccinations and 240 tests, Those who need a first or second dose of the vaccine may call the health system at 913-588-1227 or may visit

Spike model

Also at the media update Tuesday morning, Dr. Paul Camerata, a neurosurgeon at the KU Health System, showed a 3D model of a spike protein that was produced at the health system. It will be used to teach students about COVID-19 and spike proteins. The model looks different from the usual artist’s pictures of the coronavirus.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, explained where the model spike protein was attached to the viral surface, showed where it interacted with the ACE2 receptor, and showed the area where antibodies would work against the virus.

Free walk-in vaccinations available

The former Kmart store site at 7836 State Ave. will be open for free walk-in vaccinations for everyone 12 and older from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9.

The Health Department is holding mobile vaccination clinics at schools this month. A free mobile vaccination clinic will be at Sumner Academy, 1610 N. 8th St., from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 9. It is open to the public. Anyone over age 12 may be vaccinated. Walk-ins are welcome. Minors must be accompanied by parents or guardians. There also will be free food boxes, free COVID tests and free cleaning supplies available. For more information, see

People may also schedule vaccinations at Residents may request rides to the vaccination clinic through a form on the same website.

The Unified Government Health Department vaccination hours changed recently. To see the schedule and more information about vaccinations, visit or

Those who receive COVID-19 vaccinations are asked to consider bringing an ID to make the process go faster.

The Health Department is doing more mobile COVID-19 vaccinations, and people may request vaccines to be given at different sites in the community by going to and clicking on “mobile vaccine request.” People also may request a ride to vaccination sites on the same page.

Those who wish to schedule an appointment may use the Health Department’s self-scheduling tool at and click on a blue button that says, “Click here to schedule an appointment online.” The page is available in Spanish by clicking at the top of the page. Walk-in appointments also are welcome.

Those who don’t have an internet connection may call 3-1-1 or 913-573-5311 for assistance in scheduling their vaccination appointment time and date.

To see more information about Health Department vaccinations and next week’s schdule, visit

Other sites available for vaccinations

Vaccinations at KU Health System are open to the public. Current patients may use MyChart to make an appointment. Others may call 913-588-1227 or visit to make an appointment to get vaccinated. KU Health System currently is vaccinating residents of Kansas and Missouri who are 12 or older, by appointment only. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian throughout the appointment.

There are also pharmacies giving free COVID-19 vaccinations in Wyandotte County by appointment, when available. These include Price Chopper and Hen House pharmacies, which are now also accepting walk-in vaccinations or appointments, and are starting vaccinations for age 12 and up at those pharmacies that are giving Pfizer vaccine (see

CVS has announced walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccine at some of its stores. Those interested in getting a vaccination at a CVS pharmacy are asked to visit a CVS website in order to make sure there is vaccine available. The website is at Walgreens and Walmart also were listed on as giving vaccinations.

Other pharmacies and sites giving vaccines are listed at The website also tells whether vaccines are in stock at the locations.

Case numbers reported

Dr. Hawkinson reported the COVID-19 case numbers at the University of Kansas Health System were slightly higher on Tuesday morning. Five active COVID-19 patients were being treated at the hospital, an increase of one from Monday. One patient was in the intensive care unit, no change from Monday. There have been no patients on ventilators since May 24. Six other patients were still in the hospital, but were out of the acute infection phase, no change from Monday. There were 11 total COVID-19 patients, an increase of one from Monday.

Wyandotte County reported an increase of 14 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, June 8, for a cumulative 18,892 cases, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 299 deaths reported, no change from Monday.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 175,225 cumulative, COVID-19 cases on Tuesday in the Kansas City region. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 37.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 315,099 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Monday, June 7, an increase of 244 cases since Friday, June 4. There were a total of 5,100 cumulative deaths reported statewide, an increase of 16.

The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday night reported 33,390,562 cumulative COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 598,323 total deaths reported nationwide. There were 15,496 new cases nationwide and 324 new deaths nationwide.
States with high numbers of new cases were North Carolina, 1,297; California, 1,196; Texas, 1,175; Washington, 832; and Louisiana, 796.
Countries with high numbers of new cases were India, 86,498; Brazil, 37,156; Argentina, 22,195; Colombia, 21,949; and U.S., 15,496, according to Johns Hopkins information.

Free testing available

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, at the Vibrant Health Cordell D. Meeks Jr. Clinic, formerly Children’s Mercy West, 4313 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. This test is in conjunction with the Wyandotte County Health Equity Task Force.

Free COVID-19 testing will be offered from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, at the former Kmart, 7836 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. This is the Health Department’s central site.

Wyandotte County residents may contact the Health Department at to sign up for a test to be delivered to their home.
For more details about free COVID-19 testing offered by the UG Health Department, visit, or call 3-1-1.

The Health Department’s general contact page is at The department’s Facebook page is at

Testing sites are at There are more test sites listed on this page.

Saliva testing is now offered at the UG Health Department. For more information, visit

The KU doctors’ news conference is at

The University of Kansas Health System COVID-19 update page is at

A vaccine report for the state of Kansas is at

The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at

The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at

The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at

The Johns Hopkins Data in Motion, a presentation on critical COVID-19 data in the past 24 hours, is at