KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Approximately one in eight Missouri residents have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
There have been more than 750,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections in Missouri, based on a KSHB 41 News analysis of reports from state and local health departments.
The rate of infection is even higher in Kansas, where more than 400,000 people from a population of 2.9 million — or roughly one in every seven residents in the state — have been infected with COVID-19 during the last 19 months.
If there’s some good news, the number of new cases dropped significantly in Missouri during September compared to August.
While there were still more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases in the state last month, that figure dropped from more than 76,000 in August. There have been at least 50,000 new cases reported in Missouri each of the last three months.
The number of deaths also remains high with 849 reported in September, the seventh-most for any month since the pandemic began 19 months ago in March 2020.
More than one of every 500 Missouri residents have now died from COVID-19 as the total numbers of deaths surged past 12,000 last month.
Kansans have died at a slightly higher rate, though it remains roughly one in 500 after another 261 deaths were reported in September, the fifth-most for any month during the pandemic.
While new cases in Missouri dropped by more than 34% in September, Kansas — which has fewer counties with mask mandates, but boasts a higher vaccination rate compared to Missouri in the Kansas City region — saw a much smaller decline, less than 3%.
Cases in Kansas only dipped from 38,780 in August to 37,657 in September, while the number of deaths reported climbed from 351 in August to 440 last month.
The decline in cases — including a nearly 50% drop in the seven-county Kansas City region, from 33,363 in August to 17,538 in September — is welcome, but case rates continue to place the KC area in the “high transmission” category, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The region — including Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas along with Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri — reported the fifth-most cases in September for any month during the pandemic, trailing only August and last winter’s peak from November through January before COVID-19 vaccines were widely available.
Health officials still have concerns about hospital capacity with cases and severe illness remaining high combined with lagging vaccination rates, especially in Missouri.
Less than 52% of the Kansas City region has completed vaccination, including nearly 59% on the Kansas side but less than 47% on the Missouri side, according to the Mid-America Regional Council’s Kansas City Region COVID-19 Data Hub.