KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The delta variant is now the clear dominant strain of COVID-19 in Kansas. That is according to the most recent surveys published by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The news comes as case numbers are on the rise and the push for more vaccinations continues in Kansas City, Kansas.
On Wednesday the Kansas City, Kansas School Public Schools hosted a walk-in vaccination event at Carl B. Bruce Middle School, formerly Northwest Middle School. The event is a sister event to one that happened Monday where just over 100 people were vaccinated.
The vaccination rate in Wyandotte County is low, close to 30%. The school district’s Monday vaccination event at Schlagle High School was actually the largest COVID-19 mass vaccination event that had happened in Wyandotte County so far.
Carl B. Bruce Middle School was expecting even larger attendance at Monday evening’s vaccination event because A) there will again be gift card raffles involved but also B) there is a renewed push for vaccinations during the rise of COVID’s more-contagious delta variant dominating specimens collected by KDHE.
U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS-3) and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly released a PSA on Wednesday referencing climbing COVID case numbers in Missouri. At the same time, health leaders discussed what could be on the horizon for Kansas City-area hospitals highlighting one patient, unvaccinated, currently on what-amounts-to ‘lung dialysis’ [ECMO].
“And our sickest patient is 25 on ECMO. 25 on ECMO, can I say that again? And otherwise healthy,” Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health System, said.
“We know that we’ve had a little bump in our cases. We have the delta variant. We also know that the vaccinated population is still well protected against the delta,” Dr. Larry Botts, chief medical officer for Advent Health Shawnee Mission, said.
“We have not had a single patient who’s been admitted who is fully vaccinated,” Dr. Mark Steele, chief clinical officer for the Truman Medical Center, said.
“The risk obviously for everyone in general is that if we continue to have people who the virus can infect we’re at risk for developing additional mutations and we hope we don’t get one that renders the current vaccine somewhat ineffective,” Steele said.
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools encourage vaccination but understand people can make their own decisions
“They can either choose not to or choose to do it, choose to come here and get those questions answered. I’ll tell you in fact, on Monday, one of the women came because she brought her 12-year-old son who wanted to be vaccinated. And they asked her, ‘Are you vaccinated?’ and she said no,” Sharita Hutton, director of communications for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, said.
“And she sat down with a nurse and they went back and forth and she got all of her questions answered. And then she decided I want to do it. And so after she got her shot she entered the raffle. And she was our $500 winner,” Hutton said.