Area hospital executives say stresses may remain, even as case counts appear to be leveling off

January 2022

The University of Kansas Hospital, with its mandate to serve not just the metro area but the entire state, has always been tasked with caring for some of the most acute health-care challenges, treating the sickest of the sick. That’s one reason the hospital’s staff has been under siege throughout January and the Omicron-phase run-up in case counts.

That beleaguered staff might find some hope in the latest statistics from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The daily count of new cases in this latest surge peaked on Jan. 10 at 7,457, pushing the state’s seven-day rolling daily average to 5,030 by Jan. 13. Less than two weeks later, the daily count was down by more than 62 percent, and the seven-day rolling average was down by nearly half, to 2,645. Those figures mirror the trends seen in states hit hard earlier by Omicron, especially New York, New Jersey and Maryland, which are marking sharp downturns in case counts.

Officials tracking the Kansas data, however, advise that the most recent numbers are likely to change as new information from cases diagnosed this week continues to be reported to the agency.

For the Kansas City area overall, where 27 hospitals report daily to the Mid-America Regional Council, the daily census of COVID-19 patients being treated as of Tuesday declined 8.9 percent from the pandemic-era peak of 1,382 reached last Thursday. Again, it’s too early to know if that rate of decline will continue, but for health-care providers, it’s welcome news to see the trendline break away from the steady increase that began in early November.

Medical officers continue to stress the need for vaccinations, mask-wearing, social distancing and frequent hand-washing to help slow the spread of the virus.