Kansas City COVID-19 Daily Briefing for Feb. 26

Posted at 11:08 AM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 12:08:37-05

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

University of Kansas Health System daily update

Doctors at the University of Kansas Health system said they're treating 55 total COVID-19 patients.

Of those, 23 have active infections, 10 are in the intensive care unit and two on ventilators.

Thirty-two patients are in recovery from the virus.

The doctors were joined on Friday's broadcast by Dr. Vince Key, head team physician for the Kansas City Royals.

Key talked about some of the safety precautions the team is taking during spring training in Surprise, Arizona.

Missouri to open next tier of vaccinations on March 15

Missouri will move on to the next stage of its vaccine distribution plan on March 15, Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday.

Phase 1B Tier 3 includes K-12 educators, child care workers, grocery store employees and others in critical infrastructure professions.

Educators told 41 Action News "it's about time" that it's their turn to receive the vaccine, as they interact with the public on a daily basis.

Johnson County to prioritize vaccinating people 65 and older next week

Public health officials in Johnson County, Kansas, announced their own plans to advance vaccine availability.

People who are 65 and older will be able to get their vaccines beginning Wednesday.

Jackson, Johnson, Wyandotte counties lift some COVID-19 restrictions

As the number of COVID-19 cases declines on both sides of the state line, three area jurisdictions lightened some COVID-19 restrictions on businesses.

Restaurants, bars and taverns will be allowed to operate at pre-pandemic hours in Jackson, Johnson and Wyandotte County, with some limitations.

JCDHE optimistic Johnson & Johnson vaccine will increase local supply

Local health officials say the approval of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine could help stabilize vaccine supply in the region.

Some area jurisdictions have had difficulty vaccinating everyone who is eligible and wants the shot due to vaccine availability.

In Depth: Why did health systems vaccinate remote workers, board members?

With limited vaccine availability, some Kansas Citians wanted to know why major area health care systems vaccinated remote workers who did not come into contact with patients.

The health systems told 41 Action News that, in general, some remote employees still spend some time in the office. Some systems have plans to bring employees back soon, and that's why they prioritized them for the vaccine.

The hospitals did make clear that the first vaccinated front line health care workers who deal with patients firsthand.

Regional emergency managers work together during pandemic

Some front line workers who operate on a more behind-the-scenes basis were key in coordinating the Kansas City region's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Metropolitan Emergency Managers Committee's most recent work has been in organizing mass vaccination sites with private companies such as Cerner.

Kansas Department of Labor at odds with auditors over fraudulent pay-out amounts

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a skyrocket in unemployment claims, and with it, a skyrocket in fraud.

A legislative audit recently conducted on the Kansas Department of Labor says the department may have paid out as much as $600 million in fraudulent unemployment claims.

The department disputes that figure on the basis of the auditors' methodology, however, and claims the amount is closer to $290 million.

Bill to suspend 'speedy trial statute' clears Kansas House

The pandemic's effects are being felt in Kansas courts, too.

The Kansas House approved a bill that, if passed by the state Senate, will put a stay on a statute which says defendants have the right to go to trial within 150 days.

If that deadline isn't met, their case can be dismissed.

Delays caused by the pandemic and concerns over a growing backlog prompted the legislation.

Mizzou to hold in-person graduations for class of 2020, 2021

University of Missouri graduates who missed their chance to walk across the stage due to the pandemic will get it this spring.

The university announced it would hold in-person commencement ceremonies for May, August and 2020 graduate in April and May.

Find more coronavirus news and resources from 41 Action News here.