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Health officials outline state of pandemic in Johnson County

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Posted at 11:52 AM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 12:52:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The weekly Johnson County COVID-19 data update given to the Board of County Commissioners shows a slight flattening or decline in the case rate - but experts warn to take that with a grain of salt.

Dr. Charlie Hunt, who works with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Health Institute, provided the update.

On face value, Hunt says the county's steadily rising vaccination rate and declining case members looks good.

County data shows 60.8% of eligible residents are vaccinated. CDC data, which includes a wider variety of sources, shows 73% of eligible residents are vaccinated.

Hunt said to keep in mind that there hasn't been a major increase in vaccination rate, that it has been slow and steady. Also, that does not include the large number of children who are too young to be vaccinated.

He also pointed out that 26.8% of all cases being reported in the U.S. are made up of those children.

In Johnson County, Hunt said most school children being tested are being tested because they are showing symptoms. There are a high number of cases within the county's schools.

Graphs presented to the board showing case numbers and positivity rates both showed a slight decline in numbers.

Hunt cautioned that there has been an increase in COVID-19 testing in recent weeks, which could drive down that positivity rate.

The county is still listed at a "high" community risk level per CDC metrics with a 5.8% positivity rate based on the last seven days.

In talking to hospitals, Hunt said Kansas hospitals are seeing younger people who are unvaccinated are making up more of the admitted population. Admissions are remaining steady or declining in those hospitals.