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New COVID-19 cases, positive test percentages on decline in KS, Sedgwick County

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 4:51 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - While there are no immediate signs to justify loosening restrictions, COVID-19 trends for Kansas and Sedgwick County are pointing in the right direction. As of Monday (Jan. 25), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported an increase of about 2,600 cases since Friday. That increase is the lowest it’s been since October. The state also reported 96 new hospitalizations and 24 new deaths from COVID-19 since Friday. The monthly percentage of tests coming back positive continues to go down, now at 9.5 percent for the state.

On Monday, Sedgwick County reported an increase of 583 cases from Friday, sitting at 38,562 overall. The positive test rate is down to 8.5 percent, also the lowest mark since October. We’re also seeing one of the more considerable changes in hospitalizations in Sedgwick County. For the first time since November, there are fewer than 200 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county. There is also a drop in ICU patients with COVID-19. There are currently 42 COVID-19 patients in ICUs, compared to 65 last week. While the jump is encouraging, area hospitals remain listed in “critical” status.

Dr. Tom Moore with Wesley Medical Center said hospitals are still full.

“The thing we have yet to see is a break in ICU. They are full,” he said. “The hospitals are on diversion, not all of them, but some don’t have the nursing staff to care for the critical care patients, and the beds are full. We are still in the thick of it.”

Although Dr. Moore said there is light at the end of the tunnel with the COVID-19 vaccine, he thinks we still have a few months to go before hospital numbers really start moving downward. He said there is less concern about staff shortages at hospitals with many healthcare workers either already having the virus or getting vaccinated for it.

In the vaccine rollout plan for Sedgwick County, the effort, now in Phase 2, is focused on vaccinating people who are 83 and older. On Monday, the county reported that all vaccination appointments for this population are booked.

The county said it will not schedule more appointments than the vaccine available. For more information on the vaccination effort, visit https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/covid-19/vaccine-information/.

The Sedgwick County Health Department issued a reminder that no-cost, walk-in testing is regularly available for residents, regardless of symptoms. The testing is available from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The county said testing takes place at the Sedgwick County Extension Office at 7001 W. 21st St,

“Results are generally available within 18 to 36 hours,” the county said. “The Health Department will make three attempts to reach residents with their results. If you receive a voicemail or missed call from the Health Department please call back in order to receive your results. For the quickest response please call 316-660-1022 and listen for the prompt to leave a message for the results department.”

The current local health order that includes a mass-gathering limit of 25 people and public mask-wearing requirements continues at least until Feb. 6. You can learn more about the public health order and all that’s included with it here: Sedgwick County health order keeps restrictions in place until Feb. 6.

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