Morning Medical Update Thursday 1-6-22

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


            The University of Kansas Health System continues to see rapidly rising numbers of COVID patients today. 96 with the active virus are being treated, up from 90 yesterday and 73 on Monday. Only eight of those patients are vaccinated. Four patients died since yesterday. 19 COVID patients are in the ICU, the same as yesterday. 11 are on ventilators, down from 12 yesterday. 37 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID but are out of the acute infection phase, down from 38 yesterday. That’s a total of 133 patients, up from 128 yesterday and 108 on Monday.

            On today’s Morning Medical Update, guests were Dr. Angela Myers, pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital and Dr. Steve Lauer, pediatrician at The University of Kansas Health System. They joined Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer and Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control. The focus was on children, masking, and vaccination, plus the record number of kids hospitalized from COVID.


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

Dr. Myers

  • Children’s Mercy has highest number of COVID patients ever with 35, mostly unvaccinated
  • Excited that boosters for kids 12 and older now available. Boosters for 5 and older coming in the next few months.
  • Vaccine side effects extremely rare for kids
  • Noted that physical fitness level of kids is way down during the pandemic
  • It’s vital to keep schools open and masking with vaccinations will allow this

Dr. Lauer

  • Some parents still hesitant about getting their kids vaccinated. One-on-one talks with pediatrician often needed to convince them it’s safe and effective.
  • Advises schools not to wait until COVID numbers go up to require masks for all. Says some will close without proper precautions.
  • Says all extracurricular activities come with risks and tells parents to weigh those risks carefully for their kids.
  • Doesn’t want to see us saying four months from now that we’re done with omicron and then be right back to the current surge.

Dr. Stites

  • 60% of new COVID cases in Metro are omicron.
  • Rising numbers causing OR cancelations.
  • Health system has three new flu cases today. Calls it the beginning of a “tridemic” of delta, omicron, and influenza.
  • Give grace and find courage to listen to those who really know the facts about COVID, masking and vaccinations. 

Dr. Hawkinson

  • COVID is not forever, but masking can really help
  • Boosters are safe and offer the best protection against hospitalization
  • No guidance yet on whether to get a fourth shot
  • Those who still think COVID is just a bad cold are uninformed by science.


            Friday, January 7 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. As the COVID surge continues, doctors will react to the impact of community spread on staffing, which limits admissions. We’ll also answer media and community questions we didn’t have time for earlier this week.

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