We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in Missouri and the Kansas City area. Check back for updates.
Over 1,900 new COVID cases reported
On Wednesday, officials reported an increase of 1,927 cases over the previous day.
There have been 10,788 positive COVID-19 cases over a seven-day period ending Sept. 12, with an average of 1,541 new cases per day, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services data show. In that same period, there were 31 coronavirus-related deaths.
At least 1,915 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, the latest day hospitalizations were reported, including 521 patients being treated in intensive care units, health officials said.
As of Wednesday, 10.9% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.
Nearly 53% of Missouri’s total population have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and a little more than 46% have been fully vaccinated.
GoFundMe pulls campaign for mask-defiant Blue Springs cafe
An online fundraising site pulled a page raising money for Rae’s Cafe in Blue Springs and returned all contributions to donors over the weekend, The Kansas City Star reported.
Rae’s Cafe was cited for violating Jackson County’s mask mandate and is set to appear in court. The page had been established to raise legal expenses. It had generated nearly $5,000 of its $15,000 goal by Friday afternoon.
The fundraiser violated the GoFundMe terms of service, said Olivia Kealey, a spokesperson for the site.
Kealey didn’t specify which terms had been violated, but provided a link to the site’s full terms of service.
Under the first term, however, users agree not to use the site to raise funds or establish or contribute to any campaign with the implicit or explicit purpose of or involving “the violation of any law, regulation, industry requirement or third-party guidelines or agreements by which they are bound.”
Some in Missouri GOP float state gun law as template to fight Biden vaccine rule
Missouri Republicans are clamoring to thwart President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, with legislators weighing proposals that echo the new state law prohibiting local enforcement of federal gun laws, The Kansas City Star reported.
The president’s announcement last week that the federal government will require most workplaces with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or submit to regular testing has come under widespread condemnation from GOP legislators, who have vowed to take action against the plan.
But Gov. Mike Parson has so far not called a special session — limiting what lawmakers could do as they gathered in Jefferson City on Wednesday for the General Assembly’s annual veto session.
Sixth child dies of COVID-19 in Missouri
Another child has died of COVID-19 in Missouri as the virus sickens record numbers of youths in the state, The Associated Press reported.
According to officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, the child died last week in the St. Louis area. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that task force officials wouldn’t reveal any more information, including the child’s age, citing privacy concerns.
The death brings the total number of Missouri children younger than 18 who have died from COVID-19 to six, according to state health department spokeswoman Lisa Cox.
On Sept. 7, the state saw a record 1,133 positive test results for Missouri residents younger than 18, beating the previous of 940 set on Nov. 9, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Missouri Hospital Association.
KU health system loses 10% of respiratory therapists, citing burnout
Over the last three weeks, 15 respiratory therapists have left the University of Kansas Health System, saying they were overwhelmed by “exhaustion and frustration,” The Kansas City Star reported.
That accounts for 10% of the system’s respiratory therapists, who have been key in treating patients sick with COVID-19.
“A lot of the health care community is feeling the burnout and feeling the pressure because people don’t think (COVID is) real and it is very real,” said Julie Rojas, a respiratory therapist.
The health system is already trying to refill those positions, and in the meantime, the quality and availability of care will not be hurt, Rojas said.
Still, COVID-19 isn’t going away, and neither are the deaths. Losing a patient is hard, and losing a sick patient who wouldn’t get vaccinated adds frustration to the mix, according to Rojas.
“Just to know right now that we could possibly prevent that just from a shot, is what really I think affects a lot of us emotionally,” she said.
School board members face threats over COVID decisions
While school board meetings were once a quiet affair for districts in the Kansas City region, fights and threats have become a regular occurrence for members and officials making decisions regarding COVID-19.
Meetings turn into heated debates over the issues of masking, vaccination, and quarantining — even meetings where none of those are up for discussion, The Kansas City Star reported.
“We have moved some meetings to the gymnasium because we’ve expected large crowds. And things have gotten heated. We’ve heard threats from people saying that, ‘We’re working in the background to remove all of you from your seats,’” Nemaha Central school board member Amy Sudbeck said. “They’ve showed us the Bible and slammed their fists, and interrupted and talked over us.”
Some school board members, who declined to speak on the record, said they have received threats against themselves and their families.
Joe Beveridge, the Olathe school board president, said he’s hopeful cooler heads will prevail as the school year progresses.
“We understand that when we’re dealing with people’s children, it’s a tense and tough topic. But I try to understand that everyone is fighting for what’s best for their family and kids,” Beveridge said. “There’s a lot of tension on every side of the issue. The school year starts and that bubbles up at board meetings. It did this year and last year. But once we get into school, we remember the focus is the kids.”
Kansas City metro averaging 513 new COVID cases, 12 deaths every day
The Kansas City metropolitan area is averaging more than 500 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths per day.
On Tuesday, the area encompassing Kansas City and Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri and Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas gained 412 new cases for a total of 188,369 to date.
The seven-day rolling average for daily cases sits at 513, according to data tracked by The Kansas City Star. One week ago, the average was 489. Two weeks ago, it was 624.
The metro added 90 deaths in the past week, raising the total to 2,685 since the pandemic began.