COVID-19 Update (07.15.2021)

Dear Community Partners,

Kansas is facing a new surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The highly contagious and transmissible delta variant of the virus is now the dominant strain in our state. At highest risk are people who are not vaccinated for COVID-19.

Look to our neighbors in Missouri and Arkansas, where the delta variant is spreading rampantly in areas with low vaccination rates. Patients ill with the virus are seeking care at hospitals running short-staffed and having to borrow ventilators.

The scenario next door should be incentive for Kansans to get vaccinated – and soon.

In the past week, Stormont Vail has seen a marked increase in COVID-19 inpatients and testing positivity rates. Today, we have 18 COVID-19 positive inpatients and 10 suspected of COVID-19. Both nationally and at Stormont Vail, the vast majority of people with COVID-19 hospitalization and with severe disease have been unvaccinated. We are seeing infections in fully vaccinated people, but they remain a very small subset of the total. The vaccines continue to be very effective in preventing infection and severe illness.

As a health care organization, Stormont Vail Health seeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our communities. The vaccination is our best defense. An estimated 65 percent of our team has received the vaccination, primarily through our vaccine clinic.

In the near future we will be conducting a survey of team members who have not reported their vaccination status to get a fuller picture as we assess a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for team members, volunteers, students, vendors and contractors. This requirement would be similar to our influenza vaccination policy that provides exceptions for people with medical and religious reasons.

Some health care organizations are now requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for their staff. At least five hospitals in Missouri have announced mandates, including Mercy Hospital in Joplin and BJC Healthcare (Barnes Jewish) in St. Louis. Health care workers who are fully immunized for COVID-19 protect their patients, particularly the frail and elderly, their families, neighbors and themselves.

To reduce community spread and ultimately curb this pandemic, as many as possible community members, age 12 and up, need to be vaccinated. Anything less, due to hesitancy to get vaccinated, will result in unnecessary illness and death that could have been prevented by the vaccine.

This is the time to protect yourself and others by getting the vaccine.

  • Coaches protect your team and your season by strongly encouraging your players to be become fully vaccinated.
  • The new school year will be here very soon. Parents and teachers and students do your part to protect the promise of a new year.
  • This is a plea to businesses, restaurants and churches: please do all you can to encourage your workforce, patrons and parishioners to protect the activities that define our community.

None of us want to deal with another shutdown. The vaccine is our way forward out of the claws of this pandemic. Now is the time. Take the vaccine, encourage others, we together.

Here are today’s updates:

  • “To Your Health” on WIBW-TV Tonight
  • COVID-19 Updates

“To Your Health” on WIBW-TV Tonight
The mother of one of our Miracle Kids for Children’s Miracle Network at the Stormont Vail Foundation will be featured on tonight’s “To Your Health” segment at 10 p.m. on WIBW-TV, Channel 13. Hannah Maddy with Children’s Miracle Network will also explain that individuals can help with CMN funding by donating to the Walmart campaign. Customers can donate at the register or round-up their total. The campaign continues through July 25. The To Your Health segment typically repeats at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Fridays on 13 News This Morning and be posted on

COVID-19 Updates
Here’s a look at today’s COVID-19 metrics:

  • We have 18 inpatients who are COVID-19 positive today.
  • We have 26 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 8.9%.
  • We have administered 86,591 vaccinations, which included first and second doses of the vaccine.
  • All Kansans age 12 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are available through the Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy, 2252 S.W. 10th
  • 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.

We together,
Robert Kenagy, MD

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