The Kansas City metro area continues to reopen as more and more of the population gets the COVID-19 vaccine.



logo, company name: COVID-19 live updates


© Provided by KMBC Kansas City
COVID-19 live updates

What you need to know:

Sign up for our Newsletters

  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday the state has 306,883 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there have been 4,961 deaths since the outbreak started. Overall the state said 37% of the population has been vaccinated with at least one dose.
  • The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said Wednesday there have been 497,545cases of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak and 8,684 deaths. Overall, the state said 34.9% of the population has received at least one dose and 24.1% have completed vaccination.

WEDNESDAY

Loading...

Load Error

1 p.m. — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported an increase of 593 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its first update since last Monday, pushing the statewide total to 306,883 since the outbreak started.

KDHE reported six new deaths, making the total since the start of the outbreak 4,961. The state reported hospitalizations increased by 36 to 9,997 since the start of the outbreak.

The overall monthly positivity is at 2.9% for April 2021 to date, slightly up from earlier this month according to the KDHE. That number is still down from a high of 16.5% in November.

The state also said it has vaccinated 1,078,489 people, 1,764,347 total doses of the vaccine have been administered and 37% of the population has been vaccinated with one dose.

[ KANSAS COVID-19 COVID-19 DASHBOARD ]

Johnson County is the county with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak with 57,317 cases. Sedgwick County is second with 55,659. Wyandotte County is third with 20,055 cases. Leavenworth County has 7,145 cases, Douglas County reports 8,739 and Miami County has 2,724.

Health officials said they’re now monitoring 48 outbreak clusters – up from just 30 earlier this month. A total of 2,771 cases have been attributed to these clusters with 57 hospitalizations and 25 deaths.

11:30 a.m. — The De Soto School District said it will hold a special hearing at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday to review its mask mandate after somebody challenged the district’s face covering requirement. The law states that hearings must be held within 72 hours after a request is received. The De Soto School District said it received the request for a hearing on Tuesday. READ MORE

10:30 a.m. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 497,545 on Wednesday, which is an increase of 411 cases. The state also reported there have been 81,194 (+666) possible antigen cases to date.

The state said there have now been 8,689 (+5) deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The overall positivity rate for the state is at 4.8%, according to the MDHSS. That number is down from a high of 23.1% in November.

The state said it has administered 3,504,035 vaccine doses, 2,141,405 people have initiated vaccination (or received one dose) and 1,480,749 people have received a second dose. Overall, the state said 34.9% of the population has received at least one dose and 24.1% have completed vaccination.

An estimated 33.7% of Kansas City residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while Jackson County is at 32.5%, Clay County is at 27.5%, Platte County is at 23.5% and Cass County is at 27.9%.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state reported there have been 2,263 positive cases over the last seven days and an average of 323 cases a day.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 38,132 confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 31,277 cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 8,175 cases in Clay County, 7,583 in Cass County and 3,256 in Platte County.

9:30 a.m. — Another COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be available in Kansas City on Monday, April 26.

8:30 a.m. — Officials with the University of Kansas Health System said doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital are currently treating 10 active COVID-19 infections. Of those 10, six patients are in the ICU and three are on a ventilator. In addition, 10 more patients remain in the hospital in the recovery phase.

7:30 a.m. — Wednesday in Lee’s summit, Missouri, you can walk-in to get your first vaccine shot thanks to the Jackson County Health Department.

You can go to the clinic at the Pavilion at John Knox Village from 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning until 3:30 p.m. to get a vaccination. No appointment is needed. There will be more walk-in clinics Thursday and Friday.

7 a.m. — Anyone 16 or older who lives or works in Johnson County, Kansas, can get the vaccine Wednesday and Thursday without an appointment. A vaccination clinic is being set-up in Lenexa on West 108th Street between Lakeview and Mid -America Drive. You’ll need to bring a photo ID to get a vaccination, and anyone 16 or 17 must be accompanied by a parent and have a signed consent form.

6:45 a.m. — Truman Medical Center’s two vaccine clinics are now offering walk-in appointments – offering the Pfizer vaccine. If you get your first dose through TMC, you’ll be automatically scheduled for the second doze. TMC is also looking to continue transportation help, when needed, and expanding clinic hours in the future.

“If you look at what we’re trying to do just — really make it as easy as possible to do it — you don’t have to plan your phone call, you just have to show up,” TMC President and CEO Charlie Shields said.

You can get more information on TMC’s website.

[ HOW TO GET THE VACCINE IN KANSAS, MISSOURI ][ WHERE WE STAND: MAPS, CHARTS SHOW COVID-19 CASES, VACCINATION RATES ]

TUESDAY

3 p.m. — The number of coronavirus variants in Kansas has risen sharply, even as parents in some schools push to drop masking requirements and vaccine appointments go unfilled.

In the past week, the state had a 32% increase in the total number of confirmed variant coronavirus cases as all five variants of concern have now been identified in the state, The Wichita Eagle reports.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 175 total variant cases on Monday, up from 133 one week ago. Most of the increase was due to 35 new cases of the variant strain first identified in the United Kingdom.

Despite the spread, more parents are challenging mask requirements in schools, with the Mulvane district becoming the latest in the Wichita area to reject a complaint about school rules for COVID-19 control.

Parents are raising the challenges under a new state law that requires school boards to use the least restrictive means possible to control the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

In rejecting the complaint, school board president Jeff Ellis criticized the new law, which also requires districts to hold a hearing within 72 hours of a complaint being filed. He said it has “continued to divide the community, divide teachers, divide students, divide board members.”

About a dozen parents and students who signed on to the complaint were present in the audience. Most went unmasked in defiance of the district rules.

“They’re not actually protecting the kids from anything as far as I’m concerned,” said parent Lacy Collins. “To actually protect yourself from the small particles of COVID you’d have to wear a HazMat suit or something. I just don’t feel like there’s any purpose.”

It was the third loss in a row for former Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau, who has emerged in recent weeks as a leading opponent of masks in schools countywide. He’s been shot down twice in Valley Center where he brought a complaint as a parent himself and then represented another parent who filed her own complaint but couldn’t attend her hearing.

The challenges come as appointments for vaccines begin to go unfilled, even though state data shows that just 36.4% of residents have been vaccinated with at least one dose as of Monday.

The health department in Johnson County, which is the state’s largest county, said it plans to shift away from mass vaccination clinics where thousands of people receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a single day.

“We are going to be working with churches, going to be working with other organizations in the community and ensuring that those who need to be vaccinated are vaccinated. We are asking schools, junior colleges, colleges,” Dr. Sanmi Areola, Director of the Johnson County Health Department, said during a Facebook Live Monday afternoon.

12:15 p.m. — The face of Missouri’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis – Dr. Randall Williams – resigned on Tuesday, according to Gov. Mike Parson’s office. Parson said he accepted Williams’ resignation. Parson said he appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Knodell as the Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. No reason was given why Williams resigned. READ MORE

9:30 a.m. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 497,134 on Tuesday, which is an increase of 534 cases. The state also reported there have been 80,528 (+373) possible antigen cases to date.

The state said there have now been 8,684 (+49) deaths since the start of the outbreak. Normally when there is a spike in deaths, the state says they are attributed to a reconciliation of death certificates.

The overall positivity rate for the state is at 4.9%, according to the MDHSS. That number is down from a high of 23.1% in November. The 4.9% positivity rate is still higher than what it has been in weeks.

The state said it has administered 3,453,784 vaccine doses, 2,119,815 people have initiated vaccination (or received one dose) and 1,451,336 people have received a second dose. Overall, the state said 34.5% of the population has received at least one dose and 23.5% have completed vaccination.

An estimated 33.5% of Kansas City residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while Jackson County is at 32.2%, Clay County is at 27.4%, Platte County is at 23.3% and Cass County is at 27.8%.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state reported there have been 2,296 positive cases over the last seven days and an average of 328 cases a day.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 38,093 confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 31,244 cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 8,172 cases in Clay County, 7,580 in Cass County and 3,256 in Platte County.

8:30 a.m. — Officials with the University of Kansas Health System said doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital are currently treating 13 active COVID-19 infections. Of those 13, seven patients are in the ICU and three are on a ventilator. In addition, eight more patients remain in the hospital in the recovery phase.

[ HOW TO GET THE VACCINE IN KANSAS, MISSOURI ][ WHERE WE STAND: MAPS, CHARTS SHOW COVID-19 CASES, VACCINATION RATES ]

MONDAY

1:30 p.m. — Even though he’s not required by the NFL to take the COVID-19 vaccine, Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Monday he’s fully vaccinated. While meeting with the media on Monday, Mahomes said he got the vaccine to help protect his 2-month-old daughter Sterling Skye Mahomes. READ MORE

1:15 p.m. — The city of Independence is hosting a series of walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics this week. The clinics will be from 11 a.m. to 6:15 on Wednesday-Friday. The clinic will use the Pfizer vaccine and is intended for people getting their first round of the vaccine. You can sign up for the vaccine at this link. All Missouri adults and youth 16 or older are eligible to receive vaccines.

1 p.m. — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported an increase of 429 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its first update since last Friday, pushing the statewide total to 306,290 since the outbreak started.

KDHE reported two new deaths, making the total since the start of the outbreak 4,955. The state reported hospitalizations increased by 17 to 9,955 since the start of the outbreak.

The overall monthly positivity is at 2.9% for April 2021 to date, slightly up from earlier this month according to the KDHE. That number is still down from a high of 16.5% in November.

The state also said it has vaccinated 1,061,293 people, 1,720,591 total doses of the vaccine have been administered and 36.4% of the population has been vaccinated with one dose.

[ KANSAS COVID-19 COVID-19 DASHBOARD ]

Johnson County is the county with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak with 57,136 cases. Sedgwick County is second with 55,533. Wyandotte County is third with 20,008 cases. Leavenworth County has 7,141 cases, Douglas County reports 8,704 and Miami County has 2,718.

Health officials said they’re now monitoring 44 outbreak clusters – up from just 30 earlier this month. A total of 3,367 cases have been attributed to these clusters with 60 hospitalizations and 24 deaths.

Noon — Marie Watson wanted to be among the first in line when she and other essential workers became eligible for the coronavirus vaccine — and with good reason.

The maintenance parts buyer for a Mission Foods tortilla plant in Pueblo, Colorado, had lost her father to COVID-19 in the fall and was told by a doctor last year that she herself almost certainly had the virus.

So when her union, the United Food Workers and Commercial Workers, secured appointments for the plant’s 200 workers, she jumped in her car and drove to a nearby drive-thru clinic for the first of two doses.

“There was this sense of relief,” Watson said. “This was more confirmation that I’m on my way to being normal.”

A growing number of labor unions and companies are securing shots for their employees as eligibility widens. Some large companies such as Amazon are offering workplace vaccinations through licensed health care providers, while smaller outfits are booking appointments for workers at outside locations.

For employers, the vaccines are a critical step toward restoring normalcy at a time when they expect a spike in demand for their services as more people get inoculated. They are also betting that employees who did not initially trust the vaccine will have a change of heart when they see co-workers receiving it.

For workers, employer assistance with the vaccine eliminates hurdles, including transportation issues or maneuvering through a patchwork of websites to find appointments. That access could help to narrow the racial and socioeconomic gaps that have opened in the country’s vaccination drive.

While many essential workers have spent weeks trying to get time slots, Watson got her shot days after Colorado extended eligibility to food workers.

Iliana de la Vega, owner of the Mexican restaurant El Naranjo in Austin, Texas, said she secured appointments for all 12 of her employees out of gratitude that they stuck with her through shutdown orders and capacity restrictions that ate into their pay.

Some workers hesitated at first but were quickly persuaded with the promise of a day off, De la Vega said.

“A couple of them said, ‘We are not sure.’ I said, ‘That’s not an option. Take it or leave it. Who knows when you will be able to get it again?’” de la Vega said.

Despite the growing number of companies offering on-site vaccinations, there are signs that some may have lost interest. In March, when vaccine eligibility was widening and distribution efforts improving in the U.S., a survey by the consulting firm Gartner found 30% of companies planned to bring vaccines to their employees. That was down from 42% in January, when distribution was still spotty and obtaining appointments was still extremely difficult for most people.

“The speed of the rollout has exceeded their expectations so companies are realizing they can take a back seat,” said Brian Kropp, chief of research at Gartner’s human resources practice.

Vaccinating employees is also less urgent for a growing number of companies that are adopting permanent remote-work policies, Kropp said. While nearly two-thirds of companies plan to reopen their workplaces by the end of this year, the majority say they will allow many employees to keep working from home at least some days, according to Gartner, which surveyed 300 companies.

Nonetheless, prominent companies continue to join the list of those offering on-site vaccinations.

Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers opened up on-site vaccinations Monday in Michigan, Kansas and Ohio. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine had initially put a stop to workplace clinics out of concern they would tie up supply, but he allowed them to resume last week as demand dropped at the state’s mass vaccination sites.

Amazon launched its long-anticipated on-site vaccinations last month in Kansas, Missouri and Nevada. Warehouse and other front-line workers can sign up for shots at kiosks or through Amazon’s employee app.

Yogurt maker Chobani, which employs 2,200 people in the U.S., partnered with a local pharmacy to vaccinate hundreds of its employees at its Twin Falls, Idaho, plant, according to the company’s chief People and Culture Officer Grace Zuncic.

American Airlines, Subaru, chicken producer Mountaire Farms, and agricultural equipment maker Vermeer are among 40 companies that brought vaccines to their employees through partnerships with Premise Health, a direct health care provider. American Airlines is administering vaccines at airports in Chicago, Charlotte, Tulsa and Dallas-Fort Worth, according to the company.

At least 25,000 people have been vaccinated through the partnerships, said Premise President Jami Doucette. He expects that number to climb into the millions.

Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies, said it has vaccinated nearly 40,000 employees — nearly one-third of its workforce — at vaccination events in 16 states. Tyson also expanded its on-site event last week to include eligible family members of employees.

Bob Reinhard, who is leading Tyson’s vaccination effort, said a minority of employees have refused to get vaccinated while some others are interested but want more information and don’t want to go first.

“That secondary group is now coming around,” Reinhard said.

Employer-organized vaccination events, along with incentives such as bonuses or paid time off, allow companies to keep track of how many employees get vaccinated. Employer are legally allowed to require the vaccine, but the vast majority have shied away from doing so; some say it doesn’t make sense to do so until everyone is eligible and there is sufficient supply.

Still, the idea is gaining some traction. While Gartner’s March survey showed just 8% of companies planned to require employees to show proof of vaccinations, that number was up from 2% in January.

Chobani, which says it has avoided outbreaks at its plants and has seen few positive cases among employees, has not ruled out requiring the vaccines, Zuncic said. The company plans to assess how many of its workers have been vaccinated by midyear.

“It’s a discussion that continues,” Zuncic said. “We want to get a pulse and sense of how far along we are.”

10:30 a.m. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 496,600 on Monday, which is an increase of 189 cases. The state also reported there have been 80,528 (+189) possible antigen cases to date.

The state said there have now been 8,635 (+0) deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The overall positivity rate for the state is at 5%, according to the MDHSS. That number is down from a high of 23.1% in November. The 5% positivity rate is still higher than what it has been in weeks.

The state said it has administered 3,410,665 vaccine doses, 2,101,443 people have initiated vaccination (or received one dose) and 1,425,312 people have received a second dose. Overall, the state said 34.2% of the population has received at least one dose and 23.2% have completed vaccination.

An estimated 33.3% of Kansas City residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while Jackson County is at 32%, Clay County is at 27.2%, Platte County is at 23.2% and Cass County is at 27.6%.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state reported there have been 2,352 positive cases over the last seven days and an average of 336 cases a day.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 38,040 confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 31,209 cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 8,161 cases in Clay County, 7,571 in Cass County and 3,254 in Platte County.

10 a.m. — After a second parent challenge, the Olathe school board voted unanimously Monday morning to again uphold the district’s mask mandate. The school board’s decision to keep the district’s mask mandate came after listening to a parent last week who challenged the requirement. It was the second challenge to the mask mandate the district has heard in the past two weeks. READ MORE

8:30 a.m. — Officials with the University of Kansas Health System said doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital are currently treating eight active COVID-19 infections. Of those eight, six patients are in the ICU and three are on a ventilator. In addition, nine more patients remain in the hospital in the recovery phase.

[ HOW TO GET THE VACCINE IN KANSAS, MISSOURI ][ WHERE WE STAND: MAPS, CHARTS SHOW COVID-19 CASES, VACCINATION RATES ]

SUNDAY

7 p.m. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 496,411 on Sunday, which is an increase of 254 cases. The state also reported there have been 80,528 (+116) possible antigen cases to date. The DHSS said it corrected an error in the database. The correction removed 11,454 cases that had been double counted.

The state said there have now been 8,635 (+0) deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The overall positivity rate for the state is at 4.9%, according to the MDHSS. That number is down from a high of 23.1% in November. Wile down .1% from Saturday, this is still higher than it’s been in weeks.

The state said it has administered 3,401,597 vaccine doses, 2,096,776 people have initiated vaccination (or received one dose) and 1,420,881 people have received a second dose. Overall, the state said 34.2% of the population has received at least one dose and 23.2% have completed vaccination.

An estimated 33.1% of Kansas City residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while Jackson County is at 31.9%, Clay County is at 27.1%, Platte County is at 23.2% and Cass County is at 27.6%.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state reported there have been 2,489 positive cases over the last seven days and an average of 356 cases a day.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 38,023 confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 31,193 cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 8,158 cases in Clay County, 7,568 in Cass County and 3,252 in Platte County.

[ HOW TO GET THE VACCINE IN KANSAS, MISSOURI ][ WHERE WE STAND: MAPS, CHARTS SHOW COVID-19 CASES, VACCINATION RATES ]

SATURDAY

11 a.m. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 496,157 on Saturday, which is an increase of 381 cases. The state also reported there have been 80,412 possible antigen cases to date. The DHSS said it corrected an error in the database. The correction removed 11,454 cases that had been double counted.

The state said there have now been 8,635 (+1) deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The overall positivity rate for the state is at 5%, according to the MDHSS. That number is down from a high of 23.1% in November, but still higher than it’s been in weeks.

The state said it has administered 3,376,471 vaccine doses, 2,083,946 people have initiated vaccination (or received one dose) and 1,408,344 people have received a second dose. Overall, the state said 34% of the population has received at least one dose and 22.9% have completed vaccination.

An estimated 33% of Kansas City residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while Jackson County is at 31.7%, Clay County is at 27%, Platte County is at 23% and Cass County is at 27.5%.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state reported there have been 2,546 positive cases over the last seven days and an average of 364 cases a day.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 38,006 confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 31,173 cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 8,155 cases in Clay County, 7,561 in Cass County and 3,248 in Platte County.

FRIDAY

1 p.m. — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported an increase of 541 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its first update since last Wednesday, pushing the statewide total to 305,861 since the outbreak started.

KDHE reported nine new deaths, making the total since the start of the outbreak 4,953. The state reported hospitalizations increased by 33 to 9,944 since the start of the outbreak.

The overall monthly positivity is at 2.8% for April 2021 to date, slightly up from earlier this month according to the KDHE. That number is still down from a high of 16.5% in November.

The state also said it has vaccinated 1,019,650 people, 1,617,994 total doses of the vaccine have been administered and 35% of the population has been vaccinated with one dose.

[ KANSAS COVID-19 COVID-19 DASHBOARD ]

Johnson County is the county with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak with 57,068 cases. Sedgwick County is second with 55,462. Wyandotte County is third with 19,966 cases. Leavenworth County has 7,136 cases, Douglas County reports 8,685 and Miami County has 2,712.

Health officials said they’re now monitoring 44 outbreak clusters – up from just 30 earlier this month. A total of 3,367 cases have been attributed to these clusters with 60 hospitalizations and 24 deaths.

12:15 p.m. — Missouri is preparing to launch a $5 million ad campaign to urge residents to get the coronavirus vaccine as appointment times begin to go unfilled in some places even though the state expanded eligibility to everyone age 16 or older.

Called Stronger Together, the campaign will begin next month and will provide vaccination information through radio, TV, print and social media messages.

“There is definitely misinformation, disinformation circulating,” said state health department spokeswoman Lisa Cox. “I think the challenge is very similar to what we saw throughout the last year, making people aware of why these efforts are important and the impact they make and how the virus works and what it is going to take to get back to as close to normal as we feel we can get.”

Vaccinators this week reported hundreds of openings for appointments around the state, including in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia and Jefferson City, despite the state opening eligibility to anyone 16 or older last week.

“We are hoping that the more education that we can get out that, ‘Hey everyone 16 and up can do this now,’ hopefully that will help and cause people to seek out a vaccine,” Cox said.

Just 33.3% of Missouri residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday, which is less than half what would be needed to achieve herd immunity.

Cox also said the number of health agencies requesting vaccine fell by half last week compared to the previous week.

“Some of them do feel like they have really hit a wall as far as who is interested,” Cox said, noting that the state’s vaccine supply did increase substantially last month.

Health officials say it’s important to get people vaccinated as soon as possible because, among other reasons, safeguards are being lifted around the state.

The tourist town of Branson did away with its mask mandate as of Friday, and Springfield businesses would be allowed to open to full capacity this weekend. In southeastern Missouri, wearing face masks became optional this week in the Scott County School District.

Noon — On Wednesday, theJohnson County Department of Health and Environment vaccinated 3,120 people at its Lenexa clinic, the largest number of people vaccinated in one day at that location.

“We estimate that by the end of Saturday’s clinic, vaccinations administered this week will total 11,000,” JCDHE said in a news release. “Currently, JCDHE data shows that 40% of the total eligible (16 years of age and older) Johnson County population has had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 25% of the total eligible Johnson County population is fully immunized.”

During the next two weeks, JCDHE will continue to offer expanded COVID-19 vaccination hours, including evening and weekend availability. JCDHE opened up approximately 11,000 appointments for the next two weeks, administering both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. JCDHE expects to receive 14,840 first dose vaccines next week.

10 a.m. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 495,776 on Friday, which is an increase of 466 cases. The state also reported there have been 91,634 (+604) possible antigen cases to date.

The state said there have now been 8,634 (+4) deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The overall positivity rate for the state is at 5%, according to the MDHSS. That number is down from a high of 23.1% in November, but still higher than it’s been in weeks.

The state said it has administered 3,305,940 vaccine doses, 2,046,730 people have initiated vaccination (or received one dose) and 1,373,435 people have received a second dose. Overall, the state said 33.3% of the population has received at least one dose and 22.4% have completed vaccination.

An estimated 32.3% of Kansas City residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while Jackson County is at 31%, Clay County is at 26.4%, Platte County is at 22.5% and Cass County is at 27.1%.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state reported there have been 2,601 positive cases and an average of 372 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 37,921 confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 31,147 cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 8,152 cases in Clay County, 7,550 in Cass County and 3,243 in Platte County.

8:30 a.m. — Officials with the University of Kansas Health System said doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital are currently treating 14 active COVID-19 infections. Of those 14, three patients are in the ICU and all three are on a ventilator. In addition, 13 more patients remain in the hospital in the recovery phase.

6 a.m. — Coronavirus vaccine supply is starting to outpace demand in Missouri, even after the state expanded eligibility, raising worries among some health care providers.

Early on, mass vaccination clinics in rural areas sometimes had excess doses, but demand had remained strong in more populous areas until recently. The slowdown is occurring even though the state deemed anyone 16 or older eligible to get the shot last week and most residents remain unvaccinated. State data shows that just 32.8% of residents have received at least one dose as of Wednesday.

“As a medical professional, I am concerned,” Dr. Davin Turner, chief medical officer at Mosaic Life Care, told the St. Joseph News-Press, noting that signups for vaccines have slowed down in the city. “We would like to see more folks getting vaccinated. Even if they had COVID, we still recommend vaccination.”

After weeks of not enough vaccines, suddenly in St. Louis County there are more shots than people to fill appointments, KSDK reports.

“As of this afternoon, we had about 1,600 appointments still open for tomorrow, and that’s all across St. Louis County locations,” said Sara Dayley with the St. Louis County health department on Wednesday.

And at a FEMA-run operation at the Dome at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis, the vaccination pace is still less than half of what the agency says it could give out – 3,000 shots per day. The program is for St. Louis city and county residents.

Dr. Alex Garza, the head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said it is too early to worry about not enough people wanting the shot.

“I’m guessing by … this time next month that we’ll have a much better handle on how many people have been vaccinated … what the hesitancy looks like,” said Garza. “And then focus efforts on getting more people vaccinated.”

In the Kansas City area, many appointments were available this week, including 2,000 on Thursday and Friday at a Cerner clinic location.

Boone Health also has appointments available for vaccinations at Columbia Mall, KMIZ reports.

“We have been able to fill the vast majority of our appointment slots to this point, but we have felt a shift,” spokesman Ben Cornelius said.

In the Jefferson City area, the Cole County Health Department planned to give out 4,000 total doses this week at the Capital Mall and has only filled 1,600 appointments.

Chezney Schulte with the Cole County Health Department said the clinic is accepting walk-ins. If the health department consistently can’t fill 4,000 spots in weeks to come, it will request fewer doses from the state, Schulte said.

Vaccine hunters have formed Facebook pages to find appointments for people in the past, but now the pages post about the widespread availability of appointments.

Jill Anderson, who has helped fill appointments through the “Missouri Covid 19 Vaccine Information” Facebook page, said getting a vaccine can now be described as “easy.”

Anderson said most people on social media have found a dose and the focus now needs to be reaching other groups of people such as the homebound and people with language barriers to educate them on the vaccine if they remain hesitant.

“When you talk about hesitant people, a lot of times they’re not saying, ‘No, I never want the vaccine.’ They’re saying I need a little bit more information,” Anderson said.

[ HOW TO GET THE VACCINE IN KANSAS, MISSOURI ][ WHERE WE STAND: MAPS, CHARTS SHOW COVID-19 CASES, VACCINATION RATES ]

THURSDAY

4:48 p.m. — The Unified Government Public Health Department in Wyandotte County announced Thursday that it is expanding access to its mass vaccination facilities and updating hours to include early morning and evening hours. On Monday, April 19, all Kansas residents can make an appointment to be vaccinated at any of the UGPHD vaccination facilities on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Wyandotte County residents and individuals who work in Wyandotte County may still access the sites as walk-in patients.

Kansans who wish to schedule an appointment can use the UGPHD Self Scheduling Tool. Go to WycoVaccines.org, and click on the blue button that says, “Click here to schedule an appointment online.” To see this page in Spanish, click on the word “Español” at the top of the page. Wyandotte County residents who don’t have an internet connection can call 311 (913-573-5311) for assistance in scheduling their vaccination appointment time and date.

When coming in for your appointment, you may be asked to show that you live in Kansas, such as showing a drivers’ license, piece of mail addressed to you, or similar.

12:45 p.m. — The Lawrence area has lifted more coronavirus restrictions, with a growing number of University of Kansas employees and students getting vaccinated.

The Douglas County Commission voted Wednesday to eliminate the mass-gathering limit while keeping its mask mandate in place. The new health order also provides more flexibility about occupancy rules for businesses and venues, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The county’s public health officer, Dr. Thomas Marcellino, said that especially with new variants of the virus, it was important to keep some restrictions in place.

“What we don’t want to do is let off the throttle here too quickly,” he said.

The move came on the same day that Andrew Foster, the university’s emergency management coordinator, shared on a video update that 62.7% of school employees and 17.7% of its students had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday. The numbers represent those who have been vaccinated through the university and those who have told the school that they were vaccinated elsewhere.

Foster said he thinks the true percentage is higher, and he is encouraging those who haven’t yet shared that they were vaccinated through a pharmacy or in their home county to tell the university so that the school will get a better sense of how protected it is.

The university hasn’t decided yet whether to require students to get vaccinated before returning to campus next fall.

Chancellor Douglas Girod said during a school senate meeting last week that as of then, the university would probably not require vaccinations, but that things could change by the summer. He said the challenge was that the vaccines have been authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an emergency use authorization, which he said makes it legally difficult to require them.

Some legal experts disagree, pointing out that many colleges already require students to take coronavirus tests that are approved under the same Food and Drug Administration emergency authorization.

Girod said he also recognized that there was a “subcomponent” of the population that is hesitant about getting vaccinated and that he would need to think about how to address such concerns. He said it might be easier to require the vaccine for certain groups, such as students who live in campus housing.

Some universities, such as Rutgers University, the University of Notre Dame and Brown University, have already announced that they will require students to have a COVID-19 vaccine.

Conditions have been improving in Kansas. The latest report from the White House COVID-19 Task Force, dated Friday but released on Tuesday, showed Kansas having “moderate” community spread. That is an improvement from “substantial” transmission a week before, The Wichita Eagle reports.

10 a.m. — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 495,310 on Thursday, which is an increase of 613 cases. The state also reported there have been 91,030 (+296) possible antigen cases to date.

The state said there have now been 8,630 (+5) deaths since the start of the outbreak.

The overall positivity rate for the state is at 5%, according to the MDHSS. That number is down from a high of 23.1% in November, but still higher than it’s been in weeks.

The state said it has administered 3,237,004 vaccine doses, 2,010,582 people have initiated vaccination (or received one dose) and 1,338,159 people have received a second dose. Overall, the state said 32.8% of the population has received at least one dose and 21.8% have completed vaccination.

An estimated 31.4% of Kansas City residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while Jackson County is at 30.5%, Clay County is at 25.7%, Platte County is at 22.2% and Cass County is at 26.5%.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state reported there have been 2,572 positive cases and an average of 367 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 37,876 confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 31,123 cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 8,145 cases in Clay County, 7,537 in Cass County and 3,243 in Platte County.

8:30 a.m. — Officials with the University of Kansas Health System said doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital are currently treating 12 active COVID-19 infections. Of those 12, four patients are in the ICU and two are on a ventilator. In addition, eight more patients remain in the hospital in the recovery phase.

7 a.m. — Kansas has crossed the threshold of vaccinating more than 1 million people as a third highly contagious variant is detected in the state.

That means 35% of the state’s 2.9 million residents have received at least one shot, according to state data released Wednesday.

The state hit the mark one day after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced that a particularly contagious variant of COVID-19 that is sweeping through Brazil has been detected for the first time in Kansas. The agency said it is investigating how someone in Sedgwick County became infected with the P.1 variant and whether others may have been exposed.

Earlier this month, the South African variant was identified for the first time in Kansas in someone from Finney County. Another variant first identified in the United Kingdom also has been found in several Kansas counties.

Lee Norman, secretary of health and environment, urged Kansans in a statement to wear masks, physically distance and get vaccinated. The number of COVID-19 cases rose by 601 from Monday to Wednesday to 305,320 and the number of deaths increased by 14 to 4,944.

Adrienne Byrne, Sedgwick County Health Director, said the identification of the Brazilian variant shows the importance of getting tested for the virus.

6 a.m. — When one of the nation’s top health officials this week suggested states dealing with a spring spike of coronavirus cases should “shut things down,” the remark landed with a thud.

Even Democratic governors and lawmakers who supported tough stay-at-home orders and business closures to stem previous COVID-19 outbreaks say they’re done with that approach. It’s a remarkable turnaround for governors who have said from the beginning of the pandemic that they will follow the science in their decision-making, but it’s also a nod to reality: Another round of lockdown orders would likely just be ignored by a pandemic-weary public.

The political dynamics have changed markedly in recent weeks as vaccination rates have grown, warmer weather has returned, and the public and business owners have become increasingly vocal about reopening schools and loosening restrictions around social gatherings.

“I think we have a real compliance issue if we try to go back to the sort of restrictions that were in place in March and April of last year,” said Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Zabel, a Democrat who had supported previous shutdown orders by Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow Democrat. “I don’t think there’s any appetite for that in Pennsylvania at all.”

COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Pennsylvania, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows it has one of the highest per capita case counts in the nation over the past week. Even so, Wolf’s administration said it “has no plans at this time to reinstitute any shutdown orders.” It instead noted that mask-wearing, gathering limits and social distancing remain required as the state gradually reopens.

Other governors also are staying on course to reopen society as they simultaneously expand vaccine eligibility, potentially complicating President Joe Biden’s efforts to conquer the pandemic.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has pleaded unsuccessfully with the Biden administration to redirect more vaccine doses to her state as it struggles with the nation’s highest COVID-19 case rate. But the CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said Monday that vaccines wouldn’t immediately quell a surge because they take up to six weeks to take full effect.

“The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer and to shut things down, to flatten the curve, to decrease contact with one another, to test,” Walensky said.

That didn’t seem to sway Whitmer, who kept tough restrictions in place for months when COVID-19 cases surged last spring and fall but has been reluctant this time to go beyond the mask mandate and capacity limits. She has instead urged a voluntary two-week suspension of indoor restaurant dining, in-person high school classes and youth sports.

“When we can’t take action to protect ourselves, the government must step in. That’s where we were a year ago. That’s where we were four months ago,” Whitmer said. “We’re in a different moment. Every one of us has the ability and knowledge to do what it takes.”

She primarily blamed lack of compliance and the new coronavirus variants for the recent spike in cases. Adopting language used by Republican governors earlier in the pandemic, Whitmer and some other Democratic governors are urging people to take personal responsibility for behaviors that will help limit the spread of the virus.

Since the start of this year, the number of people going to restaurants and bars has noticeably increased while public support has declined for shutting down businesses and limiting travel, according to the COVID States Project, which has surveyed public attitudes and behaviors since the pandemic began.

That means governors must weigh what the public would be willing to do as they consider how to respond to a resurgence of cases fueled by the new variants, said James Druckman, a political science professor at Northwestern University in Illinois who is part of the survey consortium.

“It’s unrealistic to engage in complete shutdowns or closing of public spaces at this point,” he said. “I think you’d see a lot of people, including business owners, not following those types of things.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other top Democratic and Republican leaders have not expressed any support for putting restrictions back in place, even though Cuomo has acknowledged the state is facing increased detection of potentially more contagious variants.

The Democratic governor has said people want their children in classrooms and that the struggling hospitality and restaurant industries need help. He blamed any uptick in COVID-19 cases on “human behavior.”

“It is a matter of personal responsibility,” Cuomo said at a Tuesday event that he barred reporters from attending. “You tell me how you act, I’ll tell you your likelihood of getting COVID.”

New York Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, a Republican, said he would be against re-imposing a lockdown: “Taking any steps backward would have serious social and economic consequences,” he said.

In Colorado, a statewide mask mandate remains in effect until May 6. But Democratic Gov. Jared Polis plans to transfer decisions about other public health orders to county governments on Friday. That will put Colorado in line with some Republican-led states such as Missouri, which has left decisions about business shutdowns in the hands of local officials since last summer.

Although Colorado has seen COVID-19 cases and deaths rise over the past two weeks, Polis said the lack of hospitalizations among older adults shows vaccines are working. The governor said he doesn’t think closures are necessary, but “people should honor that at the local level” if imposed.

A spokesperson said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, is concerned about a recent increase in COVID-19 cases but noted that hospitals have capacity and added that there is no need to repeat the earlier shutdowns. In Delaware, where cases have been high, Democratic Gov. John Carney said he hopes to avoid tightening restrictions that he has gradually eased over recent months.

Reinstituting shutdowns not only would lead to political backlash but also would be psychologically difficult for some people, who just recently have begun to experience renewed freedoms after a year of restrictions.

“From a social science perspective, the decision from the governor to not go towards a lockdown I think is a sensible one,” said Dominique Brossard, chair of the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin. “You need to work with what you have as far as people’s psychological state.”

[ HOW TO GET THE VACCINE IN KANSAS, MISSOURI ][ WHERE WE STAND: MAPS, CHARTS SHOW COVID-19 CASES, VACCINATION RATES ]

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

READ THE FULL STORY:COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES: 37% of population in Kansas has received at least 1 vaccine dose

CHECK OUT KMBC:Get the latest Kansas City news, sports and weather from KMBC. With the best local coverage and the top Missouri news stories, you can stay in the know.

Continue Reading

Show full articles without “Continue Reading” button for {0} hours.