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New COVID cases in the Kansas City area have tripled in the last month

Above, nurse practitioner Latasha Reed administers a COVID-19 test.
File Photo
Shawnee Mission Post
Doctors urge Kansas City residents to seek COVID testing if symptomatic as new cases continue to climb.

Driven by two omicron variants, daily COVID-19 cases in the Kansas City area jumped to an average of 162 at the end of April. That's a higher average than last year at the same time.

The average daily count of new COVID-19 cases in the Kansas City area jumped to 162 at the end of April. That's triple the average of 54 cases per day that Kansas City reported at the start of the month, according to the latest data from the Mid America Regional Council.

Though COVID case numbers remain well below surge levels, Kansas City’s rate continues to climb steadily. The increases are driven by two omicron variants — BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 — that are highly transmissible and believed to be responsible for surges in the northeastern United States.

Overall, cases and hospitalizations remain relatively low, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at University of Kansas Health System. But he cautioned that increasing cases serve as a reminder of the need to stay vigilant, get vaccinated and get tested early if symptomatic or recently exposed.

“It continues to be incumbent on every individual to make sure that their family, their bubble, is most protected,” Hawkinson said Tuesday morning.

The BA.2 variant now makes up 51.6% of new COVID cases in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska, according to CDC estimates, while the BA.2.12.1 variant makes up 46.8%.

COVID case rates in the Kansas City area are now higher than this time last year. From early March through early July 2021, average daily cases remained below 160 per day.

According to MARC, hospitalizations for COVID-19 currently average 49 per day, which is among the lowest rates recorded since May 2020.

Meanwhile, an average of 465 COVID tests are being administered in the Kansas City area each day, which is far below the recommended level for surveillance.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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