The COVID-19 omicron increase subsides in KS, MO during February
The COVID-19 omicron increase subsides in KS, MO during February

The COVID-19 omicron increase subsides in KS, MO during February

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Worldwide, the arrival of the omicron variant heralded a massive increase in cases followed by an increase in virus-related deaths, but the latest COVID-19 variant of concern was so contagious that it tended to burn through the population quickly with a record number of infections that disappeared just as quickly.

That’s exactly what the Kansas City region has experienced in recent months.

New COVID-19 cases rose sharply in December, reaching record highs in January, but new data from state and local health departments analyzed by KSHB 41 show that the omicron-driven rise fell dramatically in February.

There were nearly 260,000 new cases confirmed in Missouri and nearly 200,000 in Kansas in January, but February brought a sharp drop to fewer than 55,000 new cases in Missouri and fewer than 35,000 in Kansas – a drop of 79% and 82%, respectively.

It was a similar story throughout the Kansas City region with seven counties – Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas along with Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties in Missouri – which we have been monitoring for two years with KSHB 41 COVID-19 Tracker.

The Kansas City area set records for new COVID-19 cases in December 2021 (42,206) and January 2022 (111,465).

New cases remained high in February with almost 22,000 reported, a dip of almost 81%, but the record wave has clearly peaked. February 2022 brought the seventh majority of cases with it for a month during the two years since COVID-19 seized the region in March 2020.

It is certainly good news that the tide of the pandemic seems to be over, but the number of deaths last reported remained high, which is to be expected because the death trend tends to reflect the case trend with a delay of three to six weeks.

Missouri state and local health departments reported a further 1,154 deaths in February, down from 1,293 in January, but still only the sixth month with more than 1,000 deaths during the pandemic.

There have been more than 16,600 confirmed deaths attributed to COVID-19 over the past two years in Missouri. Only heart disease and cancer have killed several Missourians during that time.

Kansas reported 403 from COVID-19 in January, marking only the second time during the pandemic that the state recorded 400 plus deaths in consecutive months.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City area set a record with 508 deaths reported from COVID-19 in January. That number dropped to 354 in February, but it still marks only the fourth month during the pandemic with 350 plus confirmed deaths.

There are still many Missouri counties where probable deaths from COVID-19 far exceed confirmed deaths.

For example, the state Department of Health reports 11 deaths in Chariton County, but 23 probable deaths from the virus.

The same data shows 97 deaths in Howell County with a further 102 probable deaths – including 46 confirmed by antigen testing.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services only counts deaths as official if the COVID-19 diagnosis was confirmed via PCR testing.

But in addition to the more than 1.1 million confirmed cases and 15,400 confirmed deaths, according to data from the State Ministry of Healththere were a further 273,896 probable cases and 3,667 probable deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic to the end of February.

We want to hear from you about what resources Kansas City families can take advantage of to help us all through the pandemic. If you have five minutes, feel free to complete this survey to help guide our coverage: KSHB COVID study.


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