TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The latest coronavirus data has some states on high alert heading into Memorial Day weekend.
But, in Kansas, most counties are experiencing low transmission levels according to CDC “COVID-19 Community Levels” data. As of Thursday, only Lyon County is experiencing “high” levels of spread. Dr. Clif Jones, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka, told Kansas Capitol Bureau they’ve also seen fewer critical cases in recent weeks.
“It’s as low as it’s been … two patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection … We had been in the single digits for several weeks,” Jones said. “That’s encouraging … it’s in comparison to volumes that we had with the Omicron surge earlier in the year that were in the ’80s and, I believe, in the low 90s …”
In January, Kansas hospitals scrambled to deal with an influx of patients due to the Omicron variant surge. ICU capacity was limited, and some hospitals were already dealing with staffing shortages during the pandemic. Since then, at hospitals like Stormont Vail, hospitalizations have mostly subsided.
However, for areas like Lyon County, where transmission levels are high, the CDC recommends taking the necessary precautions to stay safe. This includes wearing masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
Also, for people who are immunocompromised or at high risk of infection that are at a “high” level for coronavirus spread, the CDC recommends having a plan for rapid testing and talking with a health care provider about other precautions to take. Even for areas with low transmission levels, health officials recommend staying up to date with vaccines to also lower the risk of severe infection.
“We’re definitely encouraging eligible people still to get their boosters or their second boosters if they’re eligible for a second booster,” Jones said. “Clearly, there’s been improvement in complication rates and even in hospitalizations in people who have been up to date on their COVID-19 immunizations.”