Kansas Reflector: Number of Kansas flu and COVID-19 cases expected to rise during holiday season
By Rachel Mipro
Health officials urge Kansans to get booster shots before the holidays, warning of a “trifecta” of illnesses spreading this year, including flu, respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and COVID-19, and a limited number of hospital beds available to treat these illnesses.
Only 10.2% of Kansans have received a bivalent booster shot, according to data provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The number of Kansans who completed a vaccination series is sitting at 57.2%.
None of the counties in Kansas has a vaccination rate of more than 70%. Johnson County has the highest vaccination rate, at 68.6%, and the lowest is in Doniphan County, which is at 33.3% vaccination, according to KDHE data.
Both COVID-19 and the flu can cause fatigue, fevers, coughs and shortness of breath. People most vulnerable to flu complications are young children, people with pre-existing health conditions, pregnant people and those older than 65.
“We are seeing a lot of sick kids each day — the respiratory illness season started earlier than usual and is hitting our region hard,” said Jennifer Watts, chief emergency management medical officer with Children’s Mercy Kansas City, in a Dec. 9 news release. “Like many pediatric hospitals, Children’s Mercy has been at or near capacity and we have not yet reached the peak of flu cases this winter.”
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