KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The University of Kansas Health System has zero “true” COVID-19 patients for the first time in more than a year.
The hospital does have three active cases, but the patients were admitted for other reasons and do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Doctors are also treating five people who are recovering from COVID-19, but are no longer contagious.
Unfortunately the news isn’t as good at hospitals across the metro.
“We have a number of hospitals that still had a pretty active census [Monday],” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System, said. “It sounds like some of those hospitals definitely have more than us.”
“Liberty was up one around 11, some were at 20 or 16, so we are uncommonly low as it turns out in this community, which we’re happy about,” Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at the Health System, said. “We just hope everybody gets down to that low level.”
The doctors said the low cases are proof that vaccinations work during a Facebook Live update Tuesday morning.
“It also goes to who we aren’t seeing, and that is older, nursing home, high vulnerability patients,” Hawkinson said.
They also agreed that while vaccination rates in both Kansas and Missouri are under 40%, coronavirus isn’t spreading as quickly because so many unvaccinated people recovered from COVID-19 and are protected. But, that protection won’t last forever, according to health experts.
“Look at the US data, about 49% of people have had at least one dose and and if you couple that with it anywhere from 20 to 30%, or 40% of people who have had COVID-19 and who have not been vaccinated, you’ve got a pretty significant number that are probably more resistant to severe disease,” Stites said.
Both Stites and Hawkinson said it could be even safer if more people would get vaccinated. They also warn unvaccinated people aren’t as protected against different variants of the virus.
They said the only way to really make sure people are safe is to reach a combined immunity and vaccination rate of 80% or 85% of the population.
If you are looking for a COVID-19 vaccine, check with any retail pharmacy, or your health department. Your doctor’s office will also be able to tell you where to get a vaccine if you’re having trouble getting an appointment.