Here are Kansas’ COVID rates and masking rules ahead of Thanksgiving ” Kansas


Stormont Vail Health is reinstating increased mask requirements for visitors and employees in light of higher COVID-19 transmission in Shawnee County, a reminder of the virus’ presence ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The decision, announced on Thursday, requires visitors to wear a mask when visiting the hospital or a clinic, and staff are also required to wear a mask in situations where they encounter patients.

The move reverses course following a decision to relax mask requirements in October, as “community transmission of COVID-19 has been increasing steadily over the past few weeks and is now at ‘high’ levels,” according to a press release from Stormont Vail.

The extent of the spread is determined based on the seven-day rolling average of cases, with 100 new cases per 100,000 population considered “high” transmission rates.

How many new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Kansas?

Between November 9 and November 16, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 2,574 new cases of COVID-19, as well as a surge of 26 deaths related to the virus, although these may have only occurred in the weeks and months that have been recently reported state reported.

The combination of COVID-19, the flu and RSV, an airborne virus that can infect the respiratory tract, has caused capacity problems in hospitals across the country. There are signs that this trend is affecting Kansas as well, although hospitals in the area have not reported any major problems so far.

Nonetheless, there is a trend towards increased RSV cases in adults, far more than in a typical winter season.

“It’s certainly of concern,” said Dana Hawkinson, director of infection control at the University of Kansas Health System. “Anytime we have people in the hospital it’s a concern and we know that RSV can cause deaths, particularly in the elderly.”

Which counties in Kansas have the highest risk ahead of Thanksgiving?

State and federal data shows that some counties have a higher risk of transmission than others.

As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 15 Kansas counties as high-risk based on case rates, hospitalizations, and hospital utilization. They are Allen, Barton, Decatur, Doniphan, Edwards, Ellis, Graham, Gove, Logan, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Sheridan, Smith and Trego.

According to data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 40 counties have case rates of more than 100 per 100,000 residents over the past week, meaning they have high levels of community transmission. These counties are Allen, Bourbon, Brown, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Crawford, Decatur, Graham, Greeley, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Labette, Lane, Lincoln, Mitchell, Morton, Neosho, Ness, Osage , Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Republic, Riley, Russell, Sheridan, Scott, Shawnee, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Trego, Wabaunsee, Wallace and Wilson.

Where can I get a COVID-19 booster dose in Kansas?

Data from the CDC puts the percentage of Kansans who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine at 80%.

But the number of people who received the last booster dose is far lower, at 10.8% of people ages 5 and older in the state.

Pfizer and Moderna’s bivalent booster vaccines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, the latest booster dose to fight COVID-19.

However, the uptake of the recordings has lagged behind nationwide, not just in Kansas. Statewide, only 11.3% of those eligible have received the shot, and Kansas actually has a higher booster shot rate than its neighbors in Oklahoma and Missouri.

Individuals interested in a bivalent booster shot can do so at the Shawnee County Health Department; Appointments are available by calling 785-251-5700. Residents can also enter on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays between 8am and 11am or 1pm and 4pm; Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Appointments are also available to get the booster at a variety of retailers including Walgreens, CVS, Dillons and Walmart.