Kansas City doctors ‘definitely concerned’ about post-spring break surge in COVID-19 cases

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The number of COVID-19 cases in Kansas City is four times greater right now than at this time last year.

In March 2020, areas of the country shut down as hospitals began treating coronavirus patients.

With the number of new COVID-19 cases higher now than they were last year at this time, doctors in Kansas City are concerned about what could be heading toward the metro.

Dr. David Wild, vice president of performance improvement with the University of Kansas Health System, shared this chart during a Facebook Live Tuesday morning. It shows the number of COVID-19 cases in Kansas in March of last year compared to this year.

Wild also pointed out a second graph showing the spike in hospitalizations following spring break last year. He said we’re in a similar situation this year, that hospitalizations are slowly starting to creep up after declining for weeks.

“While we don’t anticipate maybe a sevenfold increase in hospital patients over the next week or two, we’re definitely concerned that any event that leads to increased transmission,” Wild said.

“Whether it be because of travel, gathering for spring break, or anything that happens here, or really anywhere related to a change in the way we are gathering and interacting, especially for those who are unvaccinated.”

The vaccines are the one thing that’s different between this year and last. While there are a number of variants that are concerning, doctors say they hope the vaccine will keep the majority of those who’ve been vaccinated from getting sick.

“Hopefully the vaccine, especially for those 65 and older, 60 and older now, as that is rolling out to more of the general population is going to reduce those hospitalizations,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the Health System.

Meanwhile, the Johnson County Health Department is asking anyone who traveled or plans to travel for spring break, or attended large group gatherings, to get a COVID-19 test. They say testing is key to preventing another surge in the coming weeks.

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