Thursday Media Briefing on COVID-19

Thursday Media Briefing on COVID-19

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A slight uptick in the number of COVID-19 patients at The University of Kansas Health System today. 33 people with the active virus are being treated, up from 31 yesterday. Of those patients, eight are in the ICU, the same as yesterday. Two of those ICU patients are on ventilators today, the same as yesterday. 36 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID-19 but are out of the acute infection phase, down from 39 yesterday. That’s a total of 69 patients, down from 70 yesterday. In addition, HaysMed has a total of 16 COVID-19 inpatients, down from 18 yesterday, with eight of those active patients and eight in the recovery phase.
On today’s Morning Media Update, we heard from an expectant mom on why she got the COVID-19 vaccine. Her baby is due in March. Also, Dr. Carrie Wieneke, chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, joined to talk about the COVID-19 infection rate among expectant moms and what she advises her patients about getting the vaccine and avoiding the virus.
In a video shown on the program, Nikole Wulff is a 35-year-old mother of two with baby number three due in March, almost a year to the day COVID-19 first hit. She explained why she and her husband decided to go ahead with the pregnancy in a pandemic, and more importantly, why she felt safe getting the vaccine when it was offered to her thanks to her job in healthcare. She felt confident that doing so was protecting her family, co-workers and most importantly, the new little girl they’re waiting to meet next month.
Dr. Wieneke advises her patients that there is no reason to delay pregnancy because of COVID-19 and that data so far shows it’s safe. With everything she’s seen to this point, she believes it’s safe for pregnant women to get the vaccine and that it’s safe to be vaccinated while breastfeeding. She says there are trials beginning, including one on our campus, that will look specifically at pregnant women receiving the vaccine. She does say that most pregnant women, because of their lower age, do not yet fit into any of the vaccination phases unless their occupation calls for it. She says the vaccine side effects seem to be the same in pregnant women as in others and adds there is no scientific evidence that the vaccine affects fertility. She advises all pregnant women to get the vaccine as soon as it’s offered to them.
Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at The University of Kansas Health System, said it’s very rare for a pregnant mother to pass COVID-19 to her child. He says pregnancy, by itself, does not put someone in a higher risk category. Age, plus co-morbidities like diabetes and obesity are much higher risk conditions than pregnancy. He also said there is no correlation between getting side effects from the vaccine and the amount of immunity you develop, and if you don’t develop any symptoms, you are one of the lucky ones.
David Wild, MD, vice president of Performance Improvement at The University of Kansas Health system, filled in for Dr. Stites. He said in Kansas, 10% of the population has had their first shot and 3.5% have had their second. He spent some time explaining how the vaccine gets from the manufacturer to your arm. He says the health system knows by Friday of each week how many doses of the vaccine will arrive the following week, usually by Monday or Tuesday, and works hard to get them all distributed within seven days. He explained why it’s important to arrive at the appointed time for your vaccination and not hours early as some have done, worried the clinic might run out. He assured us that everyone who has an appointment has a dose waiting for them. He explained that bringing someone without an appointment hoping to get them vaccinated as well “gummed up the system” at a recent clinic as staff had to take time to explain why they didn’t have enough for those without appointments. He also reminded everyone that wherever you got your first dose is the place you will go for your second dose.
Friday, February 19 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Media Update. Amanda Cackler joins the panel to answer questions from the media and from viewers.