How bad is the new delta-fueled COVID-19 surge in Kansas? Here's what the numbers show.
Coronavirus pandemic indicators are surging in Kansas as public health officials recommend vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with high community spread.
Of the 50 states, Kansas has the 12th-worst rate of new cases, according to data released Wednesday by the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The positivity rate is 13th-worst. Both are in the federal red zone. The Kansas death rate is fifth-worst and is in the orange zone.
The CDC issued new mask guidance on Tuesday, recommending indoor masking for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in areas with "substantial" or "high" community spread.
86 Kansas counties fall under CDC's new mask guidelines
White House and CDC data released Wednesday show 19 counties in Kansas have "low" or "moderate" community transmission, meaning the other 86 counties have "substantial" or "high" spread. Those 86 counties fall under the CDC's new mask guidance.
CDC definitions put "substantial" transmission in the orange zone and "high" transmission in the red zone. The red zone requires either a weekly case rate at or above 100 per 100,000 or a positive test rate at or above 10%.
In areas with high transmission, "significant measures are needed to limit contact between persons, with priority given to maintaining essential community activities and services," the federal definitions state.
Positive COVID cases surge, 16 county hotspots in Kansas
Positive test rates have surged in Kansas. The statewide positive test rate is 10.7%, and 57 counties have rates above 10%. There are 25 counties with positivity rates above 20%.
White House/CDC data show 16 Kansas counties have been classified as hotspots. Areas in southeast Kansas have particularly high indicators.
Wilson County's three new deaths gave it the highest death rate in the country over the past seven days. Cherokee County's four new deaths gave it the seventh-highest death rate.
Allen County's six confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions in the past week, when compared to inpatient beds, equates to the 11th-worst in the country.
Delta variant, low COVID vaccinations fuel Kansas surge
Infectious disease specialists at The University of Kansas Health System have said the new surge is fueled primarily by low vaccination rates, the emergence of the delta variant and the loss of public health mandates.
The number of confirmed delta variant cases in Kansas increased 40% in the past week and now total 1,543 cases, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment statistics.
There are likely many more, as only 6.8% of cases this month have undergone genomic sequencing, and more than 95% of them have been delta.
Vaccination rates remain lower in Kansas than much of the country. About 49.1% of the United State population is fully vaccinated, and about 56.8% of people have gotten at least one dose.
In Kansas, 44.9% of the population is fully vaccinated, and 52.7% of people have gotten at least one dose.
In the past week, the KDHE has reported 5,204 new cases, 172 new hospitalizations and 29 new deaths. Throughout the pandemic, the state has now recorded totals of 330,932 cases, 11,617 hospitalizations and 5,247 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
COVID outbreaks, clusters in Kansas
State health officials reported 40 new clusters in the past week.
There were 108 active outbreaks as of Wednesday, up from 71 a week ago. Nursing homes, summer camps and private business account for the majority of the clusters.
There have been 17 deaths at the 28 active outbreaks at long-term care facilities.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment publicly identified 18 of the 108 exposure locations.
Long-term care facilities with clusters include Brookdale Salina Kirwin, Homestead of El Dorado, Oakley Place in Topeka, Riverbend Assisted Living in Great Bend, Shawnee Gardens in Shawnee and Via Christi Village in Manhattan.
Group living facilities with outbreaks include Ashby House Womens Shelter in Salina, Cottonwood in Lawrence, Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka, Pathway Family Services in Topeka and Starkey Inc. in Wichita.
Private businesses with clusters include Bridgewood in Chanute, Outlaws Night Club in Salina and Sonic in Chanute.
Other outbreak locations include the Summit Church religious gathering in Wichita, Asbury Children's Center daycare in Prairie Village, Clear Creek JCPRD Camp in Shawnee, and an out-of-state cluster from Camp Move in Lincoln, Nebraska.