Morning Medical Update Monday 1-10-22

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


           The University of Kansas Health System set a record for the number of COVID patients today. 119 with the active virus are being treated, breaking the old record of 115 set Dec.10 of 2020. That’s up from 100 on Friday and 73 one week ago. Only 11 of those patients are fully vaccinated. Two patients died yesterday, making 13 deaths in just the first ten days of January. 18 COVID patients are in the ICU, down from 22 Friday. 13 are on ventilators, up from 12 Friday. 43 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID but are out of the acute infection phase, up from 39 Friday. That’s a total of 162 patients, up from 139 Friday and 108 one week ago.

            The COVID surge continues to put a strain on the workforce. Today’s Morning Medical Update guests included Chris Ruder, chief operating officer of the Kansas City Division of The University of Kansas Health System and Joe Reardon, president and CEO of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. They joined Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at the health system and Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control to discuss the consequences of so many sick workers.                                                                                                                                            


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

Dr. Stites

  • The overwhelming number of COVID-positive patients are here because of COVID, not because the virus was found when here for something else
  • Vast majority of hospitalized COVID patients not fully vaccinated
  • May hit peak by end of January
  • Majority of community spread is omicron variant
  • It is a “pitifully bad idea” for those who say we don’t need masks in school

Chris Ruder

  • 850 health system staff out over the weekend due to COVID exposure or positive test
  • Hospital employees not getting exposed to the virus at work
  • Many staff shifting to support roles to help 
  • Huge strain on number of available beds across the city
  • We must think beyond ourselves by wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and avoiding public gatherings.

Joe Reardon

  • 40% of area childcare facilities in Kansas City have gone out of business, having a huge ripple effect on the workforce
  • Every level of business in the region has been affected by staff shortages
  • Without mandates, businesses having to make their own decisions about masking to keep employees and customers safe
  • COVID has exposed vulnerabilities that existed before the pandemic in getting people back to the workforce
  • Annual Restaurant Week becoming more focused on takeout and delivery

Dr. Hawkinson

  • Kids coming back to school after the holidays are most vulnerable without mask requirements and could spread the virus
  • Schools may have to go back to online classes, especially if unmasked teachers and staff catch the virus at the school
  • All the different COVID variants are basically the same and all have the potential to cause serious illness
  • Explained why it’s safe to return to work after seven days instead of ten days

            Tuesday, January 11 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. Emergency Department wait times are at an all-time high in many areas due to COVID. We'll tell you how to stay safe and prevent getting hurt, especially in winter weather, so you can stay clear of the ER.

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