KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City health officials have issued new recommendations, encouraging people to get vaccinated or put their masks back on if they don’t.
The health department says there have been more than 800 new COVID-19 cases in Kansas City since July 1.
That’s more than the city recorded in the entire month of June.
Friday afternoon, multiple Kansas City area health departments issued a new public health advisory after seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The agencies said the surge is related to the emergence of the delta variant in the Kansas City area.
“At this time, unvaccinated residents of all ages who have resumed normal activities without adequate protection are most at risk, particularly immune-compromised individuals,” the health departments said in a statement.
Health leaders in Cass, Clay, Jackson, Johnson (KS), Leavenworth, Miami, Platte, Ray and Wyandotte counties, along with Kansas City, all signed on to the advisory.
The agencies are urging people to get vaccinated, and for those who aren’t, the health departments say they should wear a mask while visiting indoor public places, in crowded outdoor settings, and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
Regardless of vaccination status, the health agencies say everyone should exercise caution.
“Currently, only 40% of Missourians are fully vaccinated. Please assume that 1 in 2 people in any crowd or gathering may be unvaccinated. If you do not know the vaccination status of those around you, resume social distancing of at least 6 feet,” the advisory says.
The Kansas City Council on Thursday passed a resolution pushing the health department to be more aggressive in responding to the Delta variant surge with more vaccination opportunities, like one being staged at Smith-Hale Middle School in the Hickman Mills school district on Saturday.
“There are a lot of people who are going to be resistant to wearing their masks again in public,” Frank Thompson, deputy director of Kansas City’s public health department, said. “But I would just share this: Right now our hospitals are seeing a surge in terms of cases and the capacity in our ICU units is being challenged.”
Thompson says 99 percent of the people in intensive care units with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
Kansas City is focusing its prevention efforts on the Troost – Prospect corridor where vaccination rates remain low, comparable if not worse than hotspots like Springfield, Missouri.
The walk-in clinic at the school Saturday will have all three vaccines available at no cost.
Other childhood immunizations also will be given. Parents should bring their kids’ immunizations records.
The health department says children will be sent home from school unless they are up-to-date on their other required vaccinations.