Kansas City COVID-19 Daily Briefing for Dec. 15

Posted at 11:57 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 12:57:29-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 41 Action News is offering a daily recap of COVID-19 related stories from across Kansas City and the country. Check back every morning for the latest developments.

LATEST: COVID-19 case tracker for Missouri, Kansas and Kansas City

Kansas officials discuss vaccine next steps

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, joined a daily briefing on Tuesday with doctors from the University of Kansas Health System to discuss the next steps for vaccine distribution in the state.

Norman said that as more shipments of the vaccines arrive, there will be a wider distribution across the state. The first wave will include health care workers and those in nursing homes.

Noting the relief many feel now that vaccines are on the way, Kelly said the state has turned a corner and “will be able to start taking care of folks.”

First COVID-19 vaccines arrive in KC

Truman Medical Centers/University Health became the first in Kansas City to receive a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday. And later that day, an ICU nurse with the health system became the first Kansas Citian to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

“This is the light at the end of the tunnel,” Truman Medical Center Executive Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Mark Steele said in a statement. “But it’s a very long tunnel. And so while the vaccine has arrived, we urge the public to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.”

Truman Medical Centers said its frontline health care workers will be the first to receive the vaccine, part of a phased rollout as the vaccine remains available in limited quantities.

The general public likely won’t have access to a vaccine for several months.

Jackson County allocates remaining CARES Act funding

The Jackson County Legislature on Monday finished allocating the last of the nearly $122.7 million it received in federal CARES Act money, which had to be spent by Dec. 30 or returned to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Congress passed the CARES Act in late March and Jackson County received its appropriation in May from the state.

MO school district has hundreds in quarantine

A school district in Harrison County, Missouri, that does not have a mask mandate in place had nearly 500 students and faculty under quarantine or in isolation in early December.

“We're like any other community,” South Harrison Superintendent Dennis Eastin said. “There are some that believe in mandates, some that do not believe in mandates.”

Last week, the Harrison County Health Department Board voted to implement a county-wide mask policy, which will require school districts to comply.

Experts concerned about vaccine trial drop-out rates

Now that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency use, some experts are worried that it could become harder to find trial participants for later rounds. They also fear that those already participating in a trial may choose to drop out to receive an approved vaccine.

Experts say multiple vaccines will be necessary to bring an end to the pandemic.

Kansas City Public Library closing all branches over holidays

The Kansas City Public Library will close all branches between Dec. 24 and Jan. 3 due to an anticipated increase in COVID-19 cases over the holidays.

The library will continue to offer digital services, but all in-branch services will be suspended until after the New Year.

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