KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been another tough year dealing with the pandemic so as you can imagine a lot of people are wanting to let loose and enjoy the night at parties like Power and Light’s New Year’s Live! While others are choosing a low-key route to ring in the new year.
“Tonight we are just hanging out with our friends and playing board games. Hanging out until midnight,” one woman told FOX4.
Plus, some have kept COVID-19 in mind when it came to making New Year’s Eve plans.
“We prefer to stay in regardless of COVID but that did play a factor when we came up here,” said Sarah Shepard. “We are doing a few things then it’s back to the hotel.”
“I’m staying with my family,” Samantha Calderon said. “I’m having dinner with them and counting down until the new year.”
The latest surge in positive COVID-19 cases has forced people to change plans last minute. Kansas City, Missouri’s Mayor Quinton Lucas is in that boat after testing positive.
“One of the reasons I was happy to get the test we had New Year’s Eve plans like a lot of couples around Kansas City that might have exposed us to dozens, if not hundreds, of people,” Lucas said. “I’m glad we got checked. I’m feeling pretty well right now. I woke up with a bit of headache, sound a little stuffy but on the whole can’t complain too much, I think that’s why you get vaccinated and boosted. This is not something that has knocked me down too much.”
Local health leaders fear what Friday evening of parties and large crowds will bring into the new year.
“With those large gatherings we are concerned about the aftermath and understanding how many people are going to be exposed,” said Chip Cohlmia with the Jackson County Health Department.
Ahead of New Year’s Eve this week, the health department had such a high demand for COVID testing it had to cancel walk-ins mid-week.
“The more concerning thing I have right now so far this week we had 6,000 people get tested and the percent positivity is 28.7,” Cohlmia said.
Cohlmia said right now it’s positive case rate for unvaccinated people is the highest its seen ever in this pandemic.
“When we said we want to end the year on a positive note, this is not what we meant, testing positive,” he said.