COVID-19 cases jump at KU hospital

Doctors reported a jump in COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care unit cases on Monday morning at the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas.

There were a record 152 total COVID-19 active and recovering patients Monday morning at the hospital, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control.

He said there were 102 active COVID-19 patients on Monday morning, with 46 in the intensive care unit and 30 on ventilators. There were another 50 COVID-19 patients in recovery at the hospital.

For comparison, there were 92 active COVID-19 patients at the hospital last Wednesday, including 46 in the ICU and 21 on ventilators. There were 47 in recovery last Wednesday.

HaysMed in Hays, Kansas, reported 34 total COVID-19 patients, including 20 active and 14 recovering patients, he said.

In the past five to six days there has been a peak in total infections around the Kansas City, area, and they are seeing hospitalizations lag behind the increase in infections, he said.

It is still early to know if there will be a surge following Thanksgiving gatherings, according to Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health System. He said by Dec. 12 to 14 they should know more about any possible surges in cases from the holiday gatherings.

According to Dr. Stites, it’s possible that there was less testing during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and that case numbers could fluctuate.

The doctors also discussed a recommendation from Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, that people who traveled and attended large gatherings over Thanksgiving should assume they have COVID-19 and get tested soon. She suggested that those who traveled and attended large gatherings should not go near the elderly and those with comorbidities.

Dr. Hawkinson said those who traveled and went to Thanksgiving gatherings could get tested about a week after the gathering, but not before the fifth day.

Dr. Stites said they will be closely watching the number of beds available at the health system, and they still had some ICU beds available on Sunday. He said they will be discussing the availability of beds with other hospitals’ chief officers.

While there were some testing sites closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, the KU Health System’s lab has seen increased testing including 1,500 tests over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, according to Rachael Liesman, director of the microbiology lab. The lab is averaging over 1,000 tests a day and has doubled testing in the last four weeks, Liesman said.

According to Rick Couldry, vice president of pharmacy health professions, the KU Health System is working with the state of Kansas in its efforts to coordinate testing throughout the state.

The health system has been assigned to a group of five counties in central Kansas, and will focus its efforts on areas that do not have enough testing, he said. They expect to work with long-term care facilities.

KU Health System also has been working closely with Vibrant Health, and has already run about 1,000 tests for Vibrant, which serves Wyandotte County and underinsured residents, he said.

Kansas reports increase of 4,425 cases and 31 deaths since Friday

Kansas reported an increase of 4,425 COVID-19 cases since Friday, for a cumulative total of 157,446. There were 31 additional COVID-19 deaths in Kansas, for a cumulative total of 1,560, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The Greater Kansas City Region, which includes a nine-county area, reported a seven-day average of 924 additional daily cases on Monday, according to the Mid-America Regional Council’s Kansas City Region COVID-19 Resource Hub. Most of the indicators were trending down.

The rate of new cases is declining slightly, according to the resource hub. The cumulative number of cases in the nine-county area was 90,640.

There were an additional 15 COVID-19 deaths in the nine-county area reported on Monday, for a total of 1,088. The seven-day average of deaths per day was 6.

The daily average of new COVID-19 hospitalizations was 146 in the nine-county area, which is trending down. The weekly average of new COVID-19 hospitalizations in the nine-county area was 873.

The average daily number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital is 644 in the nine-county area. The number of those on ventilators is 101, which was down from the previous day, according to the KC Region COVID-19 data page. There was an average daily number of 174 patients in the intensive care units in the nine-county area.

The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard reported a total of 13,540,684 COVID-19 cases in the United States on Monday. There were a cumulative 268,016 deaths.

Free COVID-19 testing available Tuesday

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at All Saints parish, 811 Vermont, Kasnas City, Kansas.

The pop-up test is through Vibrant Health and the Wyandotte County Health Equity Task Force.

The Unified Government Health Department has moved its COVID-19 testing from the 6th and Ann location to the former Kmart at 78th and State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. The hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tests are free for those who live or work in Wyandotte County. The tests are now saliva COVID-19 tests.

The tests now are open to asymptomatic people as well as those who have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Check with the UG Health Department’s Facebook page to see if there have been any changes in the schedule. Bring something that shows that you live or work in Wyandotte County, such as a utility bill.

For more information about the testing site at the former Kmart location, visit

The KU doctors’ news conference is online at

For more information, visit

The new Wyandotte County health order with a limit of 10 persons to a gathering, and a closing time of 10 p.m. for restaurants and bars, with other new restrictions, is at

The UG COVID-19 webpage is at

The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at

The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at

The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at

The CDC’s COVID-19 webpage is at

Sporting playoff semifinal match moved to Thursday

Sporting Kansas City’s home match against Minnesota United FC in the MLS Cup Playoffs has been rescheduled for Thursday and will be televised nationally on FOX, Major League Soccer announced today.

The Western Conference Semifinal at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, originally slated for Wednesday, will now kick off at 7:31 p.m. on Thursday with live coverage beginning at 7 p.m. on FOX, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app. This shift in scheduling was not a result of COVID-19, according to the announcement.

All tickets purchased for the originally scheduled match at Children’s Mercy Park will be honored on Thursday night.

Additionally, MLS has announced that the Western Conference Final will now take place next Monday, Dec. 7, at a time to be determined with national coverage on FS1, FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports app.

The match was previously slated for Sunday, Dec. 6. The 25th MLS Cup remains set for Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. on FOX and UniMas/TUDN.

Thursday’s showdown will mark the first time Sporting and Minnesota have met in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Midwestern rivals have squared off 13 times across all competitions since Minnesota joined MLS in 2017, with Sporting owning a 7-4-2 record overall and a perfect 6-0-0 mark at home.

The Loons have been outscored 15-1 in their six previous visits to Children’s Mercy Park.

Top-seeded Sporting ended the 2020 regular season by going 6-1-1 down the stretch, claiming their fourth first-place conference finish since 2011, before ousting the San Jose Earthquakes in Round One.

Meanwhile, No. 4 seed Minnesota boasts a league-best nine-game active unbeaten run after going 4-0-4 in their last eight regular season games and defeating the Colorado Rapids in their Round One contest. The Loons haven’t lost since Sept. 23.

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Governor appoints new Kansas Supreme Court justice

Judge Melissa Taylor Standridge

Gov. Laura Kelly today appointed Melissa Taylor Standridge to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Standridge, Leawood, has served on the Kansas Court of Appeals since 2008. Before serving as a judge, she was an associate attorney with Shook, Hardy and Bacon in the Kansas City area and a chambers counsel in the U.S. District Court.

She fills the position that became open with the recent retirement of Justice Carol Beier, a Kansas City, Kansas, native who graduated from Bishop Ward High School in 1976.

Standridge received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Kansas in 1984, going on to pursue her law degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. During her tenure at UMKC, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Law Review and the student leader of the Moot Court program, graduating in 1993.

When she was at Shook, Hardy and Bacon she was a founding member of the firm’s award-winning diversity and inclusion initiative.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Standridge from 1999 to 2008 served as chambers counsel to U.S. District Magistrate Judge David Waxse in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas.

“As governor, the process of appointing justices to the Kansas Supreme Court is one I take very seriously,” Gov. Kelly said in a news release. “Not only must justices have knowledge of the law, but also a complex and nuanced understanding of the world and the people the law is intended to govern.”

“There’s no question that Melissa has gathered a wealth of legal expertise that makes her more than prepared to join the Supreme Court. But there’s more to her unique career trajectory and life experience that makes her a perfect fit for our state’s highest court.

“As a foster and adoptive parent, she has firsthand experience navigating the system both as a judge, and as a foster parent to numerous youngsters, doing her best to provide security, stability and love to kids who sorely needed it.
“The totality of her life and career experience makes her preeminently qualified to sit on the Kansas Supreme Court.”

Judge Standridge is married to Judge Richard Standridge, and they have six children.

The two other candidates for the Kansas Supreme Court were Judge Kim Cudney, Greenleaf, Kansas, and Kristen Wheeler, Wichita.

Standridge has received numerous awards for her performance, including the Outstanding Service Award from the Kansas Bar Association, the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service from the American Inns of Court, and in 2006 she was selected as Kansas City Leader of the Year by “The Daily Record.”

Additionally, in 2007, her work enriching the lives of children earned her the Angel in Adoption award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

“To serve on our state’s highest court is the honor of a lifetime – but I don’t view joining the Supreme Court as just a capstone to my career,” Standridge said in the news release. “The justices of our Supreme Court have difficult jobs. So I am keenly aware that my appointment is more than just moving my office from the second floor of the judicial center to the third floor.

“But I believe that my years as a judge on the Court of Appeals, my extensive experience working with judges and lawyers from across our state, and my broad life experiences outside the law have prepared me for this challenge.”