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Douglas County health officials agree with CDC warning of potential 4th COVID-19 wave

Posted at 10:10 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 23:28:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Monday of a feeling of “impending doom,” as numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths across the country continue to rise. And Kansas City metro health officials shared the same concerns with Spring Break travel picking up steam.

“We are just almost there, but not quite yet," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, of the CDC, said. "And so I'm asking you to just hold on a little longer."

Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, Douglas County’s deputy health officer and infectious disease specialist, said the metro currently is in a "very critical period."

“We have all of these different events happening, and it feels to me like a race,” Schrimsher said.

Last week, Douglas County health officials announced the B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom, had been detected. The variant is commonly referred to as the U.K. variant.

Health officials said the case was travel-related.

“There is something heading this way, and I can’t give you any specific number of metric that specifically points at this thing, but it’s coming,” Schrimsher said.

The U.K. variant is more contagious and more deadly, according to the CDC.

“Having Spring Break plus having this variant around that is more transmissible, plus getting kids back in the classrooms, it could make for an increase of cases,” Schrimsher said.

To prevent a fourth wave, Schrimsher and the CDC said people should continue to wear their masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated when eligible.