KDHE reporting 10,000 Delta cases, two dozen Omicron cases of COVID-19 in Kansas

December pandemic numbers: 42,000 cases, 1,000 hospitalizations, 250 fatalities

By: - December 27, 2021 2:45 pm
Physicians, nurses and other health professionals at University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas, are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 patients as the Delta variant takes firm root and the Omicron variant starts to make its presence felt among Kansans. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

Physicians, nurses and other health professionals at University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas, are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 patients as the Delta variant takes firm root and the Omicron variant starts to make its presence felt among Kansans. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Testing confirmed emergence in Kansas of more than 10,000 cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and documented 25 instances of the Omicron mutation, while public health reports showed more than 1,000 hospitalizations and 250 fatalities linked to the virus so far in December.

Medical professionals in Kansas attributed the rise in hospital patients to the Delta version of COVID-19. In Kansas, an Omicron spike in hospitalization could arrive in January.

“I, like everyone else, was hoping that the Delta was the worst we were going to see and then we were going to get past that and we could move on to more normal,” said Gov. Laura Kelly. “I think Omicron has taken everybody a bit by surprise — the fact that it is so transmittable.”

She said growth in COVID-10 hospitalizations placed stress on health facilities expected to care for the typical caseload of patients and those requiring post-release rehabilitation services. The compounding burnout is prompting resignations and retirements among health workers, she said.

On Monday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 512,461 infections, 16,846 hospitalizations and 6,964 deaths attributed to coronavirus since March 2020. So far in December, KDHE confirmed 42,694 cases, 1,064 hospitalizations and 259 fatalities.

In terms of vaccinations among Kansans 12 years of age or older, the state health agency said 66% were fully vaccinated as of Dec. 17. The highest rates of vaccination among the state’s 105 counties: Geary, 81%; Johnson, 80%; Graham, 79%; Jackson, 70% and Brown, 67%. The lowest rates of vaccination by county: Neosho, 30%; Elk, 37%; Linn, 38%; Sheridan and Riley, both 40%.

The lowest infection rates among Kansas counties per 100,000 population: Stevens, 10 per 100,000; Gray, 12; Stanton, 14; Hamilton, 17; and Ottawa, 20. Highest infection rates by county: Wabaunsee, 161 per 100,000; Harper, 155; Woodson and Chautauqua, 132; and Allen, 125.

Physician Chris Brown, a hospitalist at the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas, said people should pay attention to symptoms of COVID-19 and seek medical assistance before the virus had time to cause serious illness. Common symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of smell or taste, sore throat, congestion, nausea and diarrhea.

Last week, KUHS was treating 64 people with the active COVID-19 virus. Only three of those patients had received a vaccination for coronavirus.

“Listen to evidence-based medicine,” Brown said. “Get vaccinated. Get your booster.”

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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