Coronavirus Media Briefing Tuesday 1-26-21

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


            The number of active COVID-19 patients being treated at The University of Kansas Health System is slightly higher today. 63 people with the active virus are hospitalized, up from 58 yesterday. 16 patients are in the ICU, same as yesterday. 11 of those ICU patients are on ventilators today, down from 12 yesterday. 57 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID-19 but are out of the acute infection phase, down from 59 yesterday. That’s a total of 120 patients, up from 117 yesterday. In addition, HaysMed has a total of 20 COVID-19 inpatients, the same as yesterday, with 13 of those active patients and 7 in the recovery phase.

            On today’s Morning Media Update, Dr. Hawkinson rolled up his sleeve again to get his second dose of the Moderna vaccine live on the air. Also, KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman returned to answer questions about the vaccination rollout.                                                   

            Dr. Hawkinson began the show by receiving his second Moderna vaccine dose from Adam Meier, a nursing director. Meier asked Dr. Hawkinson the screening questions asked of all patients about to receive the vaccine, including reaction to the last dose. Dr. Hawkinson said he had some shoulder discomfort but no fevers, chills or fatigue. He did not take any Tylenol in advance of today’s shot to prevent the shoulder pain but said it would not be a problem to do so. After administering the shot, Meier described the typical mild symptoms seen so far and then observed Dr. Hawkinson for 15 minutes to make sure there were no severe reactions.

            Dr. Norman gave an update on statewide COVID-19 cases, saying there’s reason for optimism across Kansas as the numbers of cases have “improved dramatically.” For example, he says the number of new cases since last Friday was 2602, but five or six weeks ago that number would have been 6 or 7 thousand. He says new cases in the state overall are down 24%, positive test results dropped by a third and deaths are down 73%. He says we’re not seeing a big uptick as was expected after the holidays. He adds the trend is the same in smaller hospitals across the state. He says there’s one problem with the vaccine and that is there’s too little of it. He explained Kansas is one percent of the country’s population, so it receives one percent of the vaccine, which is about 45,000 doses a week, and he’s is not optimistic that will change any time soon. He believes at that rate it will take a long time to get everyone vaccinated. He said the state is constantly testing for the virus variants. He said vaccinations at long-term care facilities have been going well thanks to the work of CVS and Walgreen’s pharmacies. He described one situation in the Winfield Correctional Facility in which there had been no cases of COVID-19 for weeks and suddenly a whole cluster of cases broke out. It was traced to food service workers. He said by tomorrow, the state’s COVID-19 web site should have the vaccination locations throughout the state. He said despite some media reports, the state is now in the top tier of vaccinations given and blames the previous low rate on a lag in data reporting. He said we all need to keep up the anti-contagion measures of masks, hand washing and distancing and this is not a time to drop our guard because, “We’re definitely on the improving side, so let’s keep that trend going.”     

            Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at The University of Kansas Health System, mentioned that those who have received monoclonal antibody treatment should wait 90 days before getting the vaccine. He stressed even after getting your second shot and reaching full immunity, we must still wear masks because we can still transmit the disease to others. He reminds us to be especially careful with Super Bowl parties which have the potential to be super spreader events, especially with so many around Kansas City cheering for the Chiefs.

            Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System, believes the health system has given out about 80 percent of its vaccine to employees and sees the number of vaccine-hesitant people dropping. He says it doesn’t matter what distribution phase we’re in or where you fall on that list, everyone can be protected by wearing a mask and following all of the other pillars of infection prevention. As far as the vaccine goes, he says “We have a lot of patients, but we may not have a lot of patience.” He reminds us that light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and closer and will be here before we know it. If we all follow the rules, he says we’ll be back closer to normal soon.


            Wednesday, January 27 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Media Update. U.S. Kansas Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas joins our update from Washington, D.C. and Dr. Jessica Kalender-Rich, national member of the Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes and one of our fine general medicine doctors is back to answer questions about seniors getting the vaccine.  

ATTENTION: media procedure for calling in:

 The meeting is available by Zoom, both video and by phone. To join the Zoom Meeting by video, click

Telephone dial-in Participants: For those without Zoom, call 1-312-626-6799, meeting ID: 782 897 8628.

The feed is also available via TVU grid. The TVU source is UoK_Health and is being made available to all.

Feel free to send questions in advance to