COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise in the greater Kansas City metro area, largely due to the Delta variant. In the first half of July, Kansas City reported more than 800 new cases, which is more than the entire month of June.
The Delta variant is a mutation of the COVID-19 virus that is MUCH more contagious – up to 225 percent more transmissible than the original strains, according to published reports from NPR and others, based on data from international health organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Delta variant has been detected in Kansas City area wastewater treatment facilities, where sampling is used as an early warning system to track the spread of COVID-19. That spread correlates to increasing cases of COVID-19 in the area. Last week, 10 area health department agencies issued a public health advisory calling for unvaccinated people to return to wearing masks indoors and when physical distancing is not possible.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of CDC, at a recent briefing. Unvaccinated Americans account for virtually all recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
The Kansas City Health Department notes that Missouri has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation and the highest number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. In Kansas City, about 41 percent of residents have received a first dose of the vaccine.
The state of Kansas Health Department reported Monday (July 19) that it is tracking 125 (+12) cases of the delta variant in Johnson County, 77 (+21) in Wyandotte County, 18 (+4) in Leavenworth County, 13 (+5) in Douglas County and four (+1) in Miami County.
So what can you do?
“You can get a vaccination,” said Jennifer Frost, M.D., interim chief medical officer at Swope Health. “It is the single most effective way to stop the spread of the disease and protect yourself.”
The vaccines are safe and free and widely available, she added. The Pfizer vaccines are offered for individuals age 12 and up (at Swope Health, a parent or guardian must be present for individuals under age 18).
Swope Health offers the COVID-19 vaccines at all clinic locations:
- You can call 816-923-5800 to make an appointment at for any day, Monday through Friday, at Swope Health Central and our clinics in Belton, Independence and Northland.
- At Swope Health Hickman Mills, call 816-321-3201 for an appointment.
- At Swope Health West, call 913-321-2200 to schedule.
- At Swope Health Wyandotte, call 816-599-5111 for an appointment.
In addition to getting vaccinated, wearing a face mask is still an important protection indoors, as is keeping physically distanced from others. Dr. Frost also recommends continuing the practice of frequent and thorough hand washing for all individuals.
Learn the facts: