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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The number of COVID-19 cases are slowly starting to increase across the Kansas City metro area.

According to data published by the MidAmerica Regional Council the number of daily cases reported more than doubled in the past month. There were 62 new cases on April 10. On Friday, May 6, the number of positive cases reported stood at 146.

Doctors and health departments warn there are many more positive cases in the Kansas City metro than what data shows. The number only reflects the people who’ve decided to get tested, and then the test results reported to an agency or the state.

The Northeast part of the US has experienced a spike in cases for weeks. It’s just now reaching the middle of the country.

It’s an issue doctors at the University of Kansas Health Department are monitoring.

“You see that rise and then you look at the New York Times heat map and you’re watching it get more and more yellow. And you see there’s this band moving across the central part of the country as it begins to escalate. It was Colorado, now Missouri and Kansas have both ticked up to the next shade because the incidents is rising. And that’s despite not many tests being done,” Dr. Steve Stites, Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer at the University of Kansas Health System, said during an update provided by the health system.

Stites said the numbers mean that the people who are getting tested are positive for COVID-19 more often.

“What that tells us is that this wave is beginning to get here. We are seeing hospitalizations rise out east, sometimes pretty significantly, but we’re not seeing deaths rise. Now we know the deaths usually follows two to six weeks later,” Stites said.

The good news right now is that Stites said he doesn’t expect to see a surge as severe as the one that hit the metro at the beginning of the year. He said there are several reasons behind that line of thinking.

“I’m going to cross my fingers and hope we won’t see the surge in deaths because it’s estimated that anywhere from 65% to 75% of people have had COVID and we’ve got about 67%, 65% of America that’s been vaccinated, some of that overlaps,” Stites said.

Doctors are hopeful that vaccination and immunity rates will combine to help protect the entire metro better this time around.

“I think what we’re hoping is that with individual immunity built up hopefully through vaccination and boosting, but also infection and reinfection that disease process that you get should you become infected or reinfected will be less severe to you and then adding on to that individual immunity,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the University of Kansas Health System, said.

Both doctors said it’s key to be vaccinated and boosted. They said it’s also key to stay home if you don’t feel well and to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

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