Wyandotte County reaches 50% vaccination milestone, loosens recommendations on gatherings

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As COVID-19 case numbers fall, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas is lifting some of its mitigation strategies.

While masking requirements will stay in place, limits on gathering size are no more.

The latest report from the Unified Government’s Public Health Department shows more than half of the residents in the county have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Reaching 50% of people vaccinated in Wyandotte County is an important milestone for our community,” Juliann Van Liew, Director of the UGPHD, said. “Early in the pandemic, our vaccination numbers lagged soerely behind other parts of the state and the metro. But I’m happy to say we’ve made immense progress this year in bringing these numbers up.”

While giving away the grand prize checks to the winners of their COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the Unified Government’s Public Health Department Director shared the update.

They credit the work of their Health Equity Task Force for reaching previously unreached portions of the community especially during the rise of the delta variant.

Vaccination rates could get an additional boost following the possible November approval of doses for children.

“And we’ll continue to operate for a while longer as we’re here for our community to provide booster shots and will be here for when our five to 11-year-olds can get the shots hopefully in the next couple of weeks,” Van Liew said.

Van Liew said the county still has work to do to get closer to herd immunity, but the county has also decided to loosen guidance for large gatherings due to decreases in case numbers and hospitalizations.

“We can’t throw caution to the wind just yet – we don’t want to see out hospitals get overwhelmed against, especially going into the holidays this winter,” Dr. Allen Greiner, Chief Health Officer, said. “But we are at a point now where we can loosen up a bit when it comes to social gatherings.”

The UGPHD has withdrawn their latest recommendations issued on Aug. 25:

Guidance for people who are fully vaccinated

  • Limit gathering to 25 people if it can be held outside
    • Wear a mask if social distancing isn’t an option
  • Limit gathering to 10 people if it has to be held inside
    • Wear a mask and social distance while inside

Guidance for people who are not fully vaccinated

  • Avoid gatherings with anyone who does not live in the same home
  • Outdoor gatherings
    • If you must attend, make sure the gathering is limited to 25 people
    • Wear a mask
    • Practice social distancing
  • Indoor gatherings
    • Avoid whenever possible

According to the Unified Government, the county is seeing 29 new COVID-19 cases per day, down from 100 per day in August and an 18% positivity rate from COVID-19 tests, down from 40% in August.

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