Kansas health official: COVID cases rising ahead of holiday

University of Kansas Test Site For COVID-19
Posted at 10:22 AM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 11:22:57-05

TOPEKA, Kan. — A Kansas health advisor says the coronavirus pandemic is starting to worsen in Kansas again as families prepare to gather over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Public health advisor Marci Nielsen blames less mask use and more indoor gatherings, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

"The status of COVID in Kansas, you have no doubt heard, you see that the cases are ticking up," Nielsen said. "We are now surpassing 1,000 per day in Kansas. That causes a little bit of concern."

Nielsen told the governor's Safer Classrooms Workgroup on Tuesday that the state's vaccination rate for youth ages 12-17 has consistently been about seven percentage points below the national rate.

Federal data released Tuesday indicates that about 54% of the 12-17 age group in Kansas has gotten at least one dose. More than 28,000 children aged 5-11 have gotten a first shot in Kansas, or just over 10% of the age group's population. That's slightly below the national average.

Fifty-four percent of all Kansans are fully vaccinated, which puts Kansas in the bottom half of all states and territories.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment data show that of recent outbreaks at schools, 74% were in districts that did not require masks.