The number of COVID-19 patients at The University of Kansas Health System is slightly lower today. 14 patients with the active virus are being treated, down from 17 yesterday. 11 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID-19 but are out of the acute infection phase, up from seven yesterday. That’s a total of 25 patients, up from 24 yesterday. It was noted that only two of those 14 patients were fully vaccinated, one who has multiple chronic conditions of heart and lung disease and some history of cancer while the other is actively on chemotherapy. HaysMed has two patients today.
On today’s Morning Media Update, Boy Scouts from Troop 320 in Liberty and Troop 180 in Gladstone earned merit badges during this pandemic by helping to distribute PPE to their communities. Scouts joining us today were Robert Reece and Jacob Caylor. Their merit badge counselor is Dan Reece who is also a Clay County Emergency Preparedness Specialist and retired Air Force pilot. Also, Dan Neal, director of operations at Heart to Heart International played an integral part in this success story.
Before discussing today’s topic, the panel noted the rise in COVID-19 cases in Missouri, the fastest rate of new cases in the country. They pointed out that it’s happening in counties where people are not being vaccinated. They warn that it’s the Delta variant affecting the Missouri outbreaks and are worried about a third wave, like in Britain and India, affecting unvaccinated people now that we’re more than two weeks out from Memorial Day.
Dan Reece explained how the Boy Scout merit badge process works, and how two troops combined on the project to earn the Emergency Preparedness badge. The troops chose to sort and distribute PPE to daycare centers in Clay County. In all, they delivered thousands of adult and child masks and boxes of hand sanitizer, wipes and gloves, volunteering 346 hours between the children and the parents. He said they were met with tears from one daycare operator, who was spending money out of her own pocket to keep the center clean.
13-year-old Robert Reece and 12-year-old Jacob Caylor are scouts from the different troops who combined on the massive project. They each described what they did for the project, from unloading pallets and sorting supplies to delivering them to grateful daycare providers. Robert said he’s had his first shot and Jacob is getting his first this week. They explained how COVID-19 has affected their troop and activities over the past year. They are both looking forward to attending summer camp with fewer restrictions this year. Both said they might consider a career in medicine or emergency management.
Dan Neal said it’s volunteers like this that are vital to Heart to Heart’s operations. He explained that this project was a huge benefit to daycare providers, which were hit hard and are the backbone for keeping essential workers on the job. He said his organization has distributed PPE to all 50 states, which was quite a challenge in the early days of the pandemic. Thankfully, he says, they have a good supply now.
Amanda Cackler, director of Quality and Safety at The University of Kansas Health System, says The Delta variant is not more deadly but more transmissible, which is why vaccinations are so important. For the scouts going to summer camp, she says they should be safe if they’re vaccinated and do mostly outdoor activities. Those not vaccinated should still wear a mask. She says without a doubt it’s pure fiction that the vaccine stops breastfeeding moms from producing milk. Amanda also says just because you have an underlying chronic illness, it’s even more of a reason to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others.
Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System, pointed out that vaccines keep us safe, but in his words, “They are not a Get Out of Jail Free Card,” meaning you can still get sick. He says even if you’ve had COVID-19 already, the immunity will not protect you against the Delta variant, which is expected to be the dominant strain in the U.S. in the next couple of weeks. He says if you’re traveling, the rules of infection prevention control travel with you.
Wednesday, June 23 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Media Update. Mayor Quinton Lucas joins us to update the impact of COVID-19 on KCMO. We'll see how vaccinations are coming and what his outlook is for the future.
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