KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children’s Mercy Hospital had 18 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. There were 8 hospitalized as of this Wednesday morning.

Far more tested positive, but did not need to be hospitalized.

“We have seen cases rising in our community as well,” said Dr. Angela Myers, director of the infectious diseases division. “Outpatient numbers have risen in terms of positive cases since Thanksgiving.”

Now the omicron variant is also a threat.

“Early data is looking like this variant is more contagious, which is not surprising because each variant that we have had has been more contagious,” Myers said.

“It doesn’t appear to be causing more severe disease, which is good. It’s expected that this variant, the omicron variant, will become the more prevalent strain in Europe over the next few weeks to months. So we’ll see what happens here in the United States.”

Myers worries with COVID-19’s delta and omicron variant spreading, plus the flu, there will be co-infections. She notes cases have been popping up among adults and children.

“We had two, our first two positive cases of influenza last week at Children’s Mercy, which has prompted us to start routine testing yesterday,” Myers said.

While masks remain a touchy subject in schools, Myers said districts should do the right thing and reinstate a mask mandate.

“Some schools in some districts have continued to require masking in schools, which really helps to mitigate the spread of infection, whether it’s flu or COVID,” she said.

“It’s the right thing to do to mitigate disease, but others have chosen to go a different route or making it voluntary, in which case we’re going to see more infections spread.”

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