Local COVID hospitalizations “going straight up,” not peaking, as KU Med breaks record

·2 min read

Medical professionals at The University of Kansas Health System are treating 124 patients with active COVID-19 infections as of Friday, Jan. 21. A total of 203 patients are either fighting or recovering from the disease— an all-time high for the hospital.

Of the 124 patients with active cases, 28 are in the ICU, and 14 of those are on ventilators.

Data tracked by The Star shows that on average, 3,795 new COVID-19 cases have been identified in the metro area per day over the last seven days.

“We know that the case numbers probably grossly under-capture the number of true positives in the community,” said Dr. Tim Williamson, vice president of quality and safety for The University of Kansas Health System, in a news briefing on Friday, Jan. 21.

Is the end of this pandemic wave in sight?

COVID-19 case numbers have not slowed in the Kansas City area, although experts have predicted that a decline in cases could be approaching. Williamson said that even if they do, it will take time for hospitalization rates to drop afterwards.

“Hopefully we’re within a few weeks of seeing the cases come down, the hospitalizations come down. On the other hand… when you look at hospitalization numbers nationally, locally, and regionally, our numbers are really not going down,” he said. “Those curves have not appeared to peak or even started to plateau— they’re going straight up.”

Children are being particularly impacted by the most recent wave: they are one of the least-vaccinated groups in the Kansas City area, but are being hospitalized at record-breaking rates.

Medical experts agree that a full course of vaccination is still the most effective way to prevent illness from COVID-19. Kansas Citians who start their weekend with a first or second vaccine shot can even get a $50 gift card on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Here’s where else to get vaccinated and where to get tested for COVID-19 in the Kansas City area.

Do you have more questions about local COVID-19 data or staying safe during the pandemic in Kansas City? Ask our Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com or fill out the form below.

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