Morning Medical Update Thursday 1-13-22

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


           The University of Kansas Health System reports 115 current patients with the active virus, down from yesterday’s record high of 123. Only 14 of those patients are fully vaccinated. One more patient died since yesterday, making 18 deaths at the health system since the beginning of January. 24 COVID patients are in the ICU, down from 25 yesterday. 19 are on ventilators, down from 20 yesterday. 51 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID but are out of the acute infection phase, up from 47 yesterday. That’s a total of 166 patients, down from 170 yesterday. Doctors say it’s too soon to know if this is a blip or a trend.

            You may remember Anil Gharmalkar. We shared his story of survival from COVID in October 2020. This COVID long hauler now has a permanent tracheostomy tube to help him breathe. He’s an over-the-road trucker and joined us live from the road to talk about how he’s doing. Also on the panel, Dr. Leslie Spikes, a doctor who has helped Anil in the long-COVID clinic. They joined Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System and Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control.                                                                                                                                



Here are the key points from each of today’s speakers:

Dr. Stites

  • Glad to see Roeland Park, Prairie Village and Mission reinstated indoor mask mandates because of high positivity rate in Johnson County, and after urging from chief medical officers. Hopes other cities will follow.
  • January death rate from COVID may be worst of the pandemic
  • Says we must remember that the virus is the common enemy, not each other

Anil Gharmalkar

  • First three months were a fight to stay alive
  • Feeling better today, but wishes he would have taken more precautions
  • Has had to cut back on physical activities, but can do some travel with family
  • Given up trying to warn others who don’t want to be convinced that COVID is real.
  • Says, “Everyone wants to get back to normal, but no one wants to do anything to get there.”

Dr. Spikes

  • Seeing 150 long haul COVID patients like Anil each month
  • Long haul symptoms include brain fog, breathing problems, fatigue, loss of taste and smell and overall weakness 
  • May take years to fully understand COVID long haul effects, and why some symptoms persist for so long
  • Go through primary care doctor to get into long haul clinic at health system

Dr. Hawkinson

  • Those with full vaccinations and a booster will have the mildest symptoms from omicron
  • Long haul patients will be a burden on healthcare and vaccination will keep people from being in that group
  • Best sources for most current and accurate information are CDC and KDHE web sites

            Friday, January 14 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. We will have a full morning of updates. Amanda Cackler, director of Infection Prevention and Control breaks down our COVID deaths, Dr. Amber Schmidtke, Chair, Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of St. Mary, brings us the big picture with nationwide numbers and offers a COVID forecast, Dr. Tim Williamson updates the current crisis with regional and state hospitals, and doctors talk about the impact of Restaurant Week and the Chiefs playoff game on the COVID surge.

NOTE:  Journalists should rejoin the Morning Medical Update at 8am as doctors are growing too busy again for individual interview requests.  Please bring questions or send to until further notice.  Thanks for all you do and helping to keep the community safe with your reporting.

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_SDI and is being made available to all with TVU service.

Feel free to send questions in advance to