Kansas medical experts provide perspective on dwindling COVID numbers
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - COVID-19 case numbers in Kansas continue their downward trend with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reporting just 513 new cases since Wednesday. There are also 52 new hospitalizations and eight new COVID-related deaths, but the overall picture is much improved. Among those improved marks standing out is a little less than three percent of tests coming back positive so far in March.
Case numbers are also dropping in Sedgwick County where the county on Friday, reported just 38 new cases from two days earlier and a positive test rate of only about three percent.
As case numbers drop in Reno County, the health department said it will soon take down its COVID-19 dashboard. Starting Monday, the Reno County Health Department said it will no longer keep records of COVID cases on its website and Hutchinson Regional Medical Center said it’s following suit.
Hutchinson Regional Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rex Denger said this is due to low active case numbers, low hospitalizations, and the fact that COVID is staying around for good.
“We’re entering what we feel now is the endemic phase of the pandemic, and that just means this is something that’s going to be with us for a long time,” Dr. Denger said. “So, we’re looking toward having processes that will be with us for the indefinite future.”
Dr. Denger said Reno County feels more stable now and its hospitals and health department would like to focus on other issues in the community. With the numbers dropping, he said this is something to celebrate.
“I think it’s good news,” Dr. Denger said. “It’s time to move on to the next phase. Our case numbers are way down. They’re down to the levels of when we were very first dealing with this now. And our hospital numbers are still hanging in there, 3, 4, 5, and 7 (cases), but it’s at a stable level.”
In Republic County in northern Kansas, health officials report lower levels they’re seeing might not be due to actual lower rates. Republic County Hospital Chief Medical Officer of Operations Dr. Brent Martin said people are getting tested less resulting in an inaccurate number.
“COVID fatigue is probably a factor in choosing not to get tested. I know that’s a real thing and I think the weather here has played a factor,” he said. “You know, we switched from indoor basketball games and now we’re outside [having] softball and baseball practices with kids. I think some of those things do make a difference.”
If cases do rise again, Dr. Denger clarified that Reno County would bring its dashboard back online.Copyright 2022 KWCH. All rights reserved.