Tuesday Media Briefing on COVID-19

Tuesday Media Briefing on COVID-19

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The number of COVID-19 patients being treated at The University of Kansas Health System is down today. 29 people with the active virus are being treated, down from 32 yesterday. Of those patients, nine are in the ICU, down from ten yesterday. Three of those ICU patients are on ventilators today, down from five yesterday. 42 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID-19 but are out of the acute infection phase, up from 36 yesterday. That’s a total of 70 patients, up from 68 yesterday. In addition, HaysMed has a total of 12 COVID-19 inpatients, down from 15 yesterday, with seven of those active patients and five in the recovery phase.
On today’s Morning Media Update, KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman joined us to update the vaccination rollout across the state and answer other questions.
Dr. Norman reported the number of new COVID-19 cases is down dramatically in Kansas at about 450 per day, compared with 2000 cases a day not long ago. The cold weather has delayed this week’s shipment of the vaccine by a day or two, but he’s still expecting 90,000 doses, double last week’s allotment. He stressed that no vaccines are sitting on shelves and they’re going into people’s arms as quickly as they are brought in. He noted a second case of the UK variant has been found in a young man in Sedgewick County who traveled out of the state. He feels this will become a dominant strain because it’s more infectious, so people can’t let their guard down. He says it emphasizes the importance of getting tested and pointed out a web site, gogettested.com/Kansas, to find the nearest location. He pointed out there are still delays in data reporting, which is true around the country, and says despite 70% of the doses reported as distributed, the number is higher. He noted there are mass vaccination sites set up across the state, but not enough vaccine yet to run them. He explained how the vaccine is distributed across the state and discussed the reasoning behind prioritizing who gets vaccinated. To find the nearest vaccination site, he advised going to kansasvaccine.gov. As to a report that a provider in Osage County is charging $30 for the shot, he says the vaccine is free, but a clinic can charge an administrative fee, which should be covered by insurance. He stressed there should never be an out of pocket expense for this free vaccine. He understands people are frustrated by not enough vaccine and promises they will be pushed out as soon as they are available.
Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at The University of Kansas Health System, said more vaccine should be coming, if the FDA decides to grant the emergency use authorization to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He also said there’s no problem if you have to delay your second dose. He explained some studies that show vaccine antibodies may drop off after three months don’t give you the whole picture of your level of immunity. He answered a common question about whether spouses who have both been fully immunized can still spread the virus. The answer is yes, but the hope is you will spread it less.
David Wild, MD, vice president of Performance Improvement at The University of Kansas Health system, filled in for Dr. Stites. He explained how the health system is partnering with the Johnson County Health Department to distribute the vaccine to those in phase 2. He had advice for a viewer worried about serving on a jury next week where the courthouse doesn’t require masking. He believes the numbers are falling for several reasons, including masking, physical distancing and the number of vaccinations of long-term care facility residents and healthcare workers. He also advises older people who are not computer-savvy to call their doctor or health department to register for the vaccination. He says be patient and hang in there until more vaccine is available and urges everyone to follow the rules of infection prevention, which have proven to work.
Wednesday, February 17 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Media Update. Sleep deprivation during a pandemic doesn't just happen to adults. Pediatrician Stephen Lauer joins to talk about sleep regression and the anxiety it can cause in children, plus what's normal and what's not. He'll offer symptoms to watch for and advice for these kids.