COVID-19 Update (07.13.2021)

Dear Community Partners,

The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has become the dominant strain spreading across Kansas. It is now causing increases in infection rates and hospitalizations almost exclusively among those who have not received the COVID-19 vaccination. The delta variant is highly contagious with a much higher rate of transmissibility and is impacting younger age groups.

Stormont Vail Health had four hospitalized patients with COVID-19 a week ago. By Monday, that had increased to 16, with seven more inpatients suspected to have the infection, awaiting testing results. Today, we again have 16 COVID-19 positive inpatients and nine patients suspected to have COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from infection. The vaccine is currently available to anyone over the age of 12. Vaccines for younger individuals are anticipated to be reviewed for approval later this year.

All community members who are unvaccinated – regardless of whether you have had a previous COVID-19 infection – are encouraged to get vaccinated. If you have questions about your specific situation, contact your primary care provider. Stormont Vail is now offering COVID-19 vaccines at its retail pharmacy at 2252 S.W. 10th Ave. (Information to get a vaccination is listed below.)

Dr. James Lawler, a professor of medicine in the Infectious Disease Division at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and deputy medical director of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, recently spoke to Kansas hospitals about COVID-19 variants.

  • The delta variant is gaining traction, especially in unvaccinated communities which are usually in rural areas. Those communities “will be incredibly vulnerable,” Dr. Lawler said.
  • Vaccines are “safe and effective” and “every death that occurs now is preventable and tragic,” Dr. Lawler says. He believes infections of the delta variant, as well as deaths, will occur this fall in younger adults, likely under the age of 40, after schools open with no social distancing or masking, thus increasing transmission. Older age groups will be better protected because of higher vaccination rates.
  • Prior infection does not provide protection from variants – only vaccination gives protection, Dr. Lawler said. “We are dealing with a totally different virus and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been infected in the past,” he said.

The time to be hesitant regarding acquiring a vaccine is long past. We face the potential of another crisis, driven by infections in those not vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, widely available and effective. There have been 3.4 billion doses of the vaccine given worldwide, and 160 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated. Please consider getting the vaccine at your earliest opportunity.

Here are today’s updates:

  • COVID-19 Scorecard and Team Member Health (English | Spanish)
  • Stormont Vail Events Center Re-opens

COVID-19 Scorecard and Team Member Health

Here’s a look at today’s COVID-19 scorecard:

  • We have 16 inpatients who are COVID-19 positive today.
  • We have 22 COVID-19 positive patients in the outpatient Enhanced Primary Care program.
  • The percentage of patients testing positive for COVID-19 at Stormont Vail facilities is 6.9%.
  • We have administered 85,790 vaccinations, which included first and second doses of the vaccine. These were first provided through our Vaccine Clinic at the Stormont Vail Events Center that closed July 9.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are now available through the Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy, 2252 S.W. 10th Ave.
  • All Kansans age 12 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment:
  • Walk-ins are welcome from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Appointments take approximately 30 minutes, including a 15-minute required observation.

Health Care Workers Vaccination Update

Health Care Workers who have completed series: 3,452*
Tested positive after dose #1: 47
Tested positive after series completion: 11

*Information available through 7/10/21. It does not include those who have received vaccine outside of Stormont Vail Health.

Stormont Vail Events Center Re-opens
The Stormont Vail Events Center completed a major renovation project and hosted a ribbon cutting for the grand reopening of the facility last Friday. A walk-through tour of the facility highlights some of the renovations. The facility name was changed as part of a 10-year agreement between Stormont Vail Health and Shawnee County, which owns the facility, and Spectra, which manages the facility. The name of the facility changed from the Kansas Expocentre to Stormont Vail Events Center in 2019.

We together,
Robert Kenagy, MD

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