COVID-19 cases rising in the metro following holiday season

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — COVID-19 infections are again rising quickly in the metro after the holiday season and medical experts believe it is going to get worse.

This significant increase in COVID-19 infections is what medical experts have been warning about. The numbers are alarming and disappointing for those who have worked so hard to try and fight this virus.

Last week, the number of infections at KU Hospital was going down, but in the last few days the number of COVID-19 infections has jumped up.

“We have 70 acute infections right now with 28 in the ICU. Fifteen of those on the vent, so a pretty high proportion on the vent,” said KU Infectious Disease Doctor Dana Hawkinson.

Hawkinson began seeing the spike while working on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, which are approximately 10 days after Christmas.

“We did see a patient who was at a Christmas gathering with a bunch of family, probably 15 to 20 people. Everybody felt fine, but a couple days later somebody got COVID, and so now this patient is in the hospital because of that gathering,” Hawkinson said.

There’s been a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases at Truman Medical Center, too.

“We may just be starting to see the beginning of the surge,” said Executive Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Mark Steele.

Monday, there were 57 COVID-19 patients in the hospital at Truman, 11 of them in ICU, and 5 on ventilators.

“That number 57 is one of our highest numbers of patients that we’ve had to date,” said Steele. “Also our testing site today is very, very busy.”

The Jackson County Health Department’s testing site was also very busy Monday.

“It is frustrating to see people not following the recommendations, but that’s what we’re left with,” said Amanda Mason, Jackson County Health Department Quality Manager.

Mason said Jackson County Health Department’s tracing shows the spike is a reflection of holiday gatherings, and the department has five testing sites set up this week. A constant line of people came through the Lee’s Summit site Monday.

Alana Deckert and her husband live with her parents, who came down with the virus. The couple tested negative on New Year’s Eve, but have since come down with symptoms and so they tested again.

“I’ve been running like a 99-point-something fever for the past several days,” said Deckert. “I’ve been having headaches and muscle weakness. I nearly fell down the stairs while we are trying to pack up Christmas stuff. It’s sucked.”

Medical experts and public health officials expect the increase in COVID-19 to grow as time passes and gets a couple weeks out from New Year’s. They believe the surge is by no means done and will get worse, so now is the time to take COVID-19 precautions very seriously.

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