COVID-19 cases begin increasing across Kansas City metro, experts say

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OLATHE, Kan. — The metro is seeing a slight increase in the number of coronavirus cases, according to health experts. The Mid-America Regional Council reports more than 170 new cases across the area.

The Johnson County Health Department said the numbers have been creeping up over the past few days and its positivity rate was up to 3.3% Thursday.

“Things can flip on a dime, unfortunately. We are not out of the woods,” Elizabeth Holzschuh, an Epidemiologist for Johnson County, said during a Facebook Live Thursday afternoon. “We were safer for five or six weeks, but we’re starting to creep up and we don’t know what next week will hold.”

The number of cases of coronavirus is also increasing hospitalizations at the University of Kansas Health System, according to doctors.

A total of 20 people were hospitalized as of Thursday morning because of COVID-19. While that is much better than it was a couple of months ago, doctors at the health system are concerned because of the spike in cases in other states.

“We’re always concerned about capacity of vital drugs and ventilators. Right now we’re not in that problem or that state, but certainly we know that cases are surging in the United States in general,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at KU Health System, said during a Facebook Live Thursday.

There is some good news, however. Doctors point out that we haven’t seen the surge in cases some expected following spring break.

“Group gatherings outside like we were worried about Florida and spring break and you know the crowded state, even for the Texas Rangers baseball game, and other things,” said Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer at the health system. “It’s looking more and more apparent like some of those activities outside aren’t as bad as the activities inside, at least whenever people are vaccinated.”

They say the key is to get a vaccination before gathering with people outside of your bubble. If you need to schedule an appointment, you can make one online for locations in Kansas and options in Missouri.

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