Coronavirus Media Briefing Friday 8-21-20

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


          The number of COVID-19 patients being treated at The University of Kansas Health System is slightly higher today. 27 are in the hospital, compared to 26 yesterday. Eight of those patients are in the ICU, down from 9 yesterday, with five on ventilators, down from seven yesterday.

            We get a lot of unanswered questions throughout the week. David Wild, MD, VP of Performance Improvement at The University of Kansas Health System filled in for Dr. Stites. He joined Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of infection prevention and control at The University of Kansas Health System in tackling those going into the weekend and reminded folks to maintain the pillars of infection prevention and control. They also showed another Sunnye Says video with great back-to-school advice.                     

             Here are the questions in the order the doctors addressed them, followed by the short answer. See the video for their full answers and comments.

  • Do people who have tested positive for COVID-19 need to isolate from one another?  Is there any risk we might make each other sicker? Strict isolation is always best when confirmed with COVID-19
  • Why is COVID-19 percent positivity calculated using the number of people tested rather than general population? It helps us understand if we’re testing enough.
  • Doctors discuss “gaiting” criteria.
  • If saliva testing is not considered diagnostic, how does it help with knowing the spread of infection? Want to make sure numbers are completely accurate before using this test. Gold standard test is still the nasal swab.
  • Will the health system ever offer saliva testing? Yes, once they are deemed as accurate as the nasal swab.
  • After someone tests positive, how long before they should be around others with chronic illness or considered at high risk? No more than 10-11 days after the onset of symptoms.
  • Safety of youth outdoor soccer. Depends on what coaches are doing to enforce mask wearing and physical distancing on sidelines and practices.
  • Do children have different symptoms of COVID-19 than adults? Some have milder symptoms but still test positive.
  • What is the best way to expand my social bubble safely? If children are back in classrooms, the family’s bubble will expand. Take same precautions as early in the pandemic when the stay-at-home orders were in place.
  • How effective are hybrid learning plans in which children are in school some days and at home learning online the others? They are effective as long as the pillars of infection prevention are observed both at home and in class.
  • Is it safe to get a flu shot through a drive-through clinic during a pandemic? It will be safe since the health professionals giving the shots will have proper protective practices in place. Best time to get shot is October and November.
  • If I had COVID-19 once, do I have immunity? Too soon to say, not enough data.
  • Doctors explained the meaning of “viral load.”
  • The FDA pressed pause on an emergency approval of blood plasma to treat COVID-19. What does that mean?  Are trials done? Is the health system still using it for patients?  They are asking for more trial data before giving emergency approval. The trial use continues.
  • Will wearing a mask have any effect on the severity of the upcoming flu season? Based on the flu season in Australia, it appears ours will be milder as long as we continue to wear masks.


   Monday, August 24 at 8:00 a.m. is the next morning media update. A group of anesthesiologists from the health system join to show n’ tell an innovation to keep medical staff and the patient safer from COVID19 when undergoing procedures.  Solution?  They built a tent. 


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 1-253-215-8782, 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