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COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES: Missouri reports 2,780 new coronavirus cases on Thursday

KMBC Kansas City logo KMBC Kansas City 1/15/2021
a red and white sign: CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES © Provided by KMBC Kansas City CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES

Kansas City metro area health officials are grappling with how to handle continuing case count increases after reopening businesses more than four months ago.

What you need to know:

  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday the state has 252,041 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there have been 3,355 deaths since the outbreak started. Kansas is now only updating COVID-19 data on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said Thursday there have been 431,957 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak and 6,201 deaths.
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THURSDAY

8:25 p.m. -- The spread of COVID-19 has set in at the Missouri Capitol -- one week into the legislative session, Missourinet reported Thursday.

A statement from Missouri House Republican leadership says due to the rising number of cases in the building, the lower chamber will not be in session next week. READ MORE.

8:20 p.m. -- The Lee's Summit school board voted 6-1 Thursday that all middle and high school students who want to learn in-person will shift out of virtual learning to a hybrid model on Jan. 25. Those students will then move to an in-person learning model for four days a week beginning on Feb. 8, the school district said. READ MORE.

5:50 p.m. -- Health care workers are working to speed up the vaccine rollout as the Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to a bill that extends a state of emergency for the pandemic while limiting Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's power to direct the state's response. READ MORE.

1:15 p.m. -- Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that Missouri is moving into the Tier 1 of Phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, which is focused on vaccinating law enforcement, fire service and public health officials. READ MORE

The second tier of Phase 1B will go into effect on Monday, and it will focus on getting the vaccine to people who are at increased risk for severe illness, including individuals aged 65 and older and any adult with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD or intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, heart conditions, a weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

11 a.m. -- With an eye on the chance to back to school buildings for in-person learning, the Kansas City Public School District announced a partnership Thursday to provide vaccinations to district staff. In a news release, the district said it is preparing to offer vaccinations to all employees to begin the process of bringing students back to in-person learning. READ MORE

10:30 a.m. -- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced 2,780 more COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state since Wednesday’s update. These cases take the state's total to 431,957 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

There were 30 more deaths reported, taking the state’s death toll due to the coronavirus to 6,201.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state said it has tested a total of 3,882,097 and 111,562 were tested in the past seven days. There have been 16,982 positive cases and an average of 2,426 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 33,229 (+202) confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 26,171 (+201) cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 6,982 (+87) cases in Clay County, 6,180 (+122) in Cass County and 2,646 (+91) in Platte County.

10 a.m. -- Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said as of Thursday morning the state had administered more than 190,400 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

9 a.m. -- Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System said the hospital is treating 117 total COVID-19 patients with 69 acute cases, including 21 that are in the ICU, 10 on ventilators and 48 in the recovery phase.

8:30 a.m.--Coronavirus hospitalizations have fallen in Kansas from their high last month and staffing is under less strain as the shaky vaccine rollout gains momentum, although overall case numbers remain stubbornly high.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment data shows that 889 adults were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases as of Tuesday, down 30% from a high of 1,282 on Dec. 2. It was the lowest COVID-19 patient count since early November, when the numbers began creeping steadily upward.

Dr. Lee Norman, head of the state health department, said a call he had this week with officials at small, rural hospital was “really encouraging.”

“There’s ICU beds available. The majority of ventilators are available, and — very encouraging — the staff are coming back off isolation because of illness or quarantine,” Norman said during a Statehouse news conference. “It’s really gratifying to see our health care workers get a little bit of a reprieve right now.”

Staffing also is less of a problem, with 11% of the state’s hospitals reporting anticipated staffing shortages this week, down from as many as 45% predicting problems in November and December, according to data from the Kansas Hospital Association.

“I don’t feel — and this is hopefully not premature — that we have seen as much of an increase post-Christmas and New Year’s like some parts of the country have,” Cindy Samuelson, a spokeswoman for the association, told The Associated Press. But she added: “There are some that think we are just early in the month of January.”

Last year, the situation grew so dire that staff at small hospitals were spending hours on the phone looking for places to transfer their sickest patients. Some hospitals were doubling up patients and holding them in emergency room hallways while they waited for rooms to open up.

Kenny Wilk, of the University of Kansas Health System, said during a teleconference sponsored by the state’s Hospital Association and the KDHE that things have started to improve in recent weeks, The Wichita Eagle reported.

“We have had a number of deaths, and that’s really hard on the staff,” Wilk said. “We’re sure hoping that peaks out. That’s been extremely difficult on the staff. But I think the combination of a little fewer patients in the hospitals, the vaccine’s coming across, and having more of our workforce available, you put all those things together and I think it (staff morale) is up.”

Dee Dee Dewell, an outreach representative for Ascension Via Christi, said Wichita hospitals have seen a small decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations, though there is still high demand for intensive care unit beds.

“We do have to still remain very vigilant in our practices,” she said.

The state added 4,539 cases from Monday to Wednesday, making its tally 252,041 since the start of the pandemic. It reported 100 more deaths since Monday, making the total 3,355.

Meanwhile, the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to extend the state’s coronavirus law to March 31. The law, enacted last year and due to expire Jan. 26, limits Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s power to close businesses and provides some protections from lawsuits to businesses, nursing homes and medical providers.

The committee’s decision came a day after it heard about a dozen lobbyists for groups representing restaurants, businesses, physicians and others express support for extending the law.

But Tucker Poling, acting executive director for the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, proposed no longer allowing health care workers licensed in other states to work in Kansas without authorization in the state. He said Tuesday that the law prevents Kansas professional licensing agencies from regulating them.

Even so, the committee passed the bill without including any amendments.

Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican, announced that the Senate will debate the bill on Thursday.

The state reported vaccinating 84,555 residents as of Tuesday. That’s just under 3% of the population and an improvement from Dec. 31, when Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showed that Kansas had the lowest vaccination rate among states.

With vaccinations for teachers and school staff tentatively on the horizon, Education commissioner Randy Watson said schools can start looking at how they will “transition out of the pandemic.” He offered the assessment Tuesday while also warning the Kansas State Board of Education that students showed slight declines on free, but optional, interim fall assessments, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

6 a.m. -- Officials on Wednesday announced an easing of coronavirus restrictions that will allow Kansas City-area bars and restaurants to remain open later, but they cautioned that the move doesn’t mean the virus poses less of a threat in and around Missouri’s largest city.

Bars and restaurants in the city can stay open until midnight starting Wednesday, Mayor Quinton Lucas said during a news conference. The previous curfew aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 was 10 p.m. and was implemented in November.

Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. said establishments can serve food and alcohol until midnight starting Thursday. He cautioned that the move was aimed at creating consistency with neighboring counties that have lesser restrictions, rather than an acknowledgement that the region hard-hit by the virus has turned the corner.

“Let me be clear — our situation has not improved over the past two months... . It is still dangerous to gather in large groups, so I urge residents to remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus,” White said in a statement.

Bridgette Shaffer, who heads the county’s health department, also urged people to continue practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Citing the risk of in-person dining at restaurants, she said people should continue to consider options such as curbside pickup or delivery.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Wednesday reported 2,060 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 16 more deaths from the disease, pushing the statewide totals to 429,177 cases and 6,171 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the University of Missouri’s Columbia campus said it will give COVID-19 tests to all students who will live on campus for the spring semester, which begins Tuesday. University spokeswoman Liz McCune said 2,881 students have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 19, and five required hospitalization. The university is not aware of any student deaths tied to the virus.

[ COVID-19 IN KC: TRACKING CASES, DEATHS AND LATEST RESTRICTIONS ][ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE ]

WEDNESDAY7:50 p.m. -- Clay County has amended its emergency health order, following Kansas City and Jackson County in allowing restaurants and taverns to stay open until midnight while limiting capacity to 50%. READ MORE

2:45 p.m. -- Coronavirus hospitalizations have fallen in Kansas from their high last month. Staffing is under less strain as the shaky vaccine rollout gains momentum. But overall case numbers remain stubbornly high. READ MORE

12:30 p.m. -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported an increase of 4,539 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its first update since Monday, pushing the statewide total to 252,041 since the outbreak started.

KDHE officials said Wednesday the death total grew by 100 to 3,355 and hospitalizations increased by 189 to 7,540 since the outbreak started.

Health officials said Wednesday that 32% (-8%) of ICU beds are available and 82% (+0%) of the state’s ventilators are available.

The state said it has tested 1,083,932 people with 831,891 negative test results and an overall monthly positive test rate of 11.9%.

[ KANSAS COVID-19 COVID-19 DASHBOARD ]

Sedgwick County has the highest total of confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak with 45,337. Johnson County is second with 44,346 cases. Wyandotte County is third with 17,039 cases. Leavenworth County has 5,574 cases, Douglas County reports 7,139 and Miami County has 2,178.

Health officials they are monitoring 341 active outbreak clusters with 190 clusters reported in long-term care facilities.

12:15 p.m. -- Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said Wednesday he is extending the city’s current mask order, but easing a few other coronavirus restrictions. In a news conference, Lucas said he is extending the State of Emergency in Kansas City until May 1, 2021, but will be relaxing part of the emergency order that pertains to bars and restaurants. READ MORE

10:30 a.m. -- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced 2,060 more COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state since Tuesday’s update. These cases take the state's total to 429,177 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

There were 16 more deaths reported, taking the state’s death toll due to the coronavirus to 6,171.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state said it has tested a total of 3,859,023 and 117,733 were tested in the past seven days. There have been 18,949 positive cases and an average of 2,707 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 33,027 (+117) confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 25,970 (+122) cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 6,895 (+40) cases in Clay County, 6,180 (+42) in Cass County and 2,646 (+71) in Platte County.

9:15 a.m. -- The Jackson County, Missouri, Health Department has issued a new, more relaxed health order, still aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. Officials announced today that the department is loosening restrictions on bars and restaurants. READ MORE

9 a.m. -- Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System said the hospital is treating 110 total COVID-19 patients with 60 acute cases, including 25 that are in the ICU and 11 on ventilators.

8 a.m. -- Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is expected to extend the city's emergency orders to control COVID-19. A formal announcement is expected at a noon news conference. The current order is set to expire in four days. READ MORE

7 a.m. -- Students in Wichita are resuming in-person learning and some bars and restaurants in the Kansas City area are extending their hours as the bumpy COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues.

The Wichita district, which is the state’s largest with about 47,000 students, is bringing elementary students back on Wednesday. These young students had been sent home late last year because of a lack of substitutes and rising COVID-19 cases.

The district also plans for middle and high school students, who have been remote learning since the start of the academic year, to return later this month in a hybrid mode. That means they’ll be in-person part of the time and at home the rest.

The shift comes as government leaders in Wyandotte County announced that bars and restaurants in the county can remain open past midnight starting Wednesday.

Mayor David Alvey said in a statement that the goal was to help businesses succeed and contain the spread of coronavirus.

“To the extent employees and patrons continue to mask up, maintain social distancing, disinfect, and limit gatherings, the relaxation of these orders can be accommodated — encouraging business activity and protecting public health,” Alvey said. “Each of us must strive to neither get, nor give the coronavirus.”

Bars and restaurants will still be limited to 50% of their normal operating capacity, and patrons will still be required to wear masks unless actively eating or drinking, The Kansas City Star reports.

The vaccine rollout has been slowly gaining momentum in Kansas but hit a hiccup in Topeka, where Stormont Vail Health is looking into whether anyone not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine may have received one.

During a media briefing held Tuesday afternoon via Zoom, Robert Kenagy, Stormont’s president and CEO, addressed news that individuals not associated with the health system took advantage of an online vaccination scheduling tool provided to the system’s health care workers, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

He said it is possible someone not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine — based on the state’s vaccine rollout guidelines — may have become vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the Kansas Department of Labor is warning that people who are using automatic phone dialers in an attempt to reach someone with the agency about their unemployment claim are jamming the system and making it difficult for others to get through, The Wichita Eagle reports.

Auto dialers don’t work with the phone system at KDOL and won’t allow a caller to connect with someone at the department, said Ryan Wright, special assistant to the acting secretary of labor and former secretary. It also creates problems for callers who aren’t using the automatic dialers.

In early December, Wright said most people were able to reach a live human within the first few times of calling in. That changed when call volumes grew larger and more claimants began to use automatic dialers.

The problems unemployed Kansas have reaching KDOL staff also come at a time when the agency is working to implement new federal unemployment programs signed into law last month, like additional weekly payments and extended benefits for some. More people have called to ask questions about the new programs, too.

“What we’re seeing right now is kind of a perfect storm,” Wright said.

[ COVID-19 IN KC: TRACKING CASES, DEATHS AND LATEST RESTRICTIONS ][ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE ]

TUESDAY

10:30 p.m. -- Kansas City, Kansas school board members voted 6-1 Tuesday to allow some students to return to in-person learning starting Feb.22.

Those included are kindergarteners through fifth graders at-risk of not passing, ELS students who have been in the country less than a year, plus students in foster care or who are homeless. High school seniors at risk of not graduating on time are also included. READ MORE.

1 p.m. -- Bars, restaurants and taverns in Wyandotte County will be allowed to serve patrons until midnight and to stay open until 12:30 a.m. starting on Wednesday. Dr. Allen Greiner, the Unified Government Department of Public Health Medical Officer, issued a new health order on Tuesday after getting feedback from local small business owners. READ MORE

12:15 p.m. -- Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said the Sunflower State now ranks in the top tier of vaccination distributions per capita. Kelly said Tuesday the state has now vaccinated more than 77,2000 people.

10:30 a.m. -- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced 2,131 more COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state since Monday’s update. These cases take the state's total to 427,117 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

There were 204 more deaths reported, taking the state’s death toll due to the coronavirus to 6,155. A large number of the new reported deaths can be attributed to further analysis of death certificates, the MDHSS said.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state said it has tested a total of 3,844,238 and 116,870 were tested in the past seven days. There have been 19,397 positive cases and an average of 2,771 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 32,910 (+111) confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 25,848 (+300) cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 6,895 (+72) cases in Clay County, 6,180 (+58) in Cass County and 2,646 (+58) in Platte County.

9 a.m. -- Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System said the hospital is treating 115 total COVID-19 patients with 51 in recovery phase and 64 acute cases, including 23 that are in the ICU and 13 on ventilators.

7 a.m. -- Kansas legislators opened their annual session Monday with new leaders in the Senate, new lawmakers in a quarter of the seats and a top Republican acknowledging that he’s asked for extra security.

The 90-day session began amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in one confirmed or probable case for one in every 12 of the state’s 2.9 million residents and killed 3,255 over the past 10 months. But the GOP-controlled Legislature also started its work for the year under the shadow of last week’s mob violence in Washington in which extremist supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying his election loss.

The FBI warned Monday of potential armed protests in Washington and many states by Trump loyalists ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Jan. 20. Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., an Olathe Republican, said he has asked for extra security from the Kansas Highway Patrol, which oversees the Kansas Capitol Police.

“We’re hopeful that things, people, remain calm and the democratic process can continue,” Ryckman said.

While the pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington in a failed insurrection that left five people dead, about 200 Trump supporters rallied at the Kansas Statehouse. But their event Wednesday in Topeka was peaceful, and when they entered the Statehouse afterward, they came through its security checkpoint. No damage or arrests were reported.

Several legislators said they have confidence in the Capitol Police’s ability to prevent a serious incident at the Statehouse. The Highway Patrol is under the control of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

“Our office is aware of the heightened risks being reported, and we are taking all threats seriously,” said Kelly spokesperson Lauren Fitzgerald.

The Legislature’s business Monday included ratifying Republican lawmakers’ selection of the House speaker and speaker pro tem and the Senate president and vice president. Because those positions are mentioned in the Kansas Constitution, the full chamber must vote on them, but by tradition, approval of the majority party’s choice is a formality.

The new Senate president and majority leader are Wichita-area Republicans Ty Masterson and Gene Suellentrop. They replace GOP leaders who did not seek re-election last year.

The new minority leader is Lenexa Democrat Dinah Sykes. She replaces the longest-serving legislator in state history, former Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat who unexpectedly lost his seat last year.

Twenty-eight of the House’s 125 members are new. Fourteen of 40 senators are new, though seven previously served in the House.

But the House’s top leaders all returned from last year. Ryckman became the first speaker in history elected to a third consecutive two-year term.

This year’s 90-day session will be marked by COVID-19 precautions. About half of the House’s 165 members will be seated in its galleries to allow for social distancing, while senators will take over space on the floor of their chamber normally reserved for visitors and reporters.

The Legislature spent $3 million to upgrade its technology for live video and audio streaming of its meetings and so that people could participate remotely.

“We have an added duty this session, a duty to keep each other safe,” Ryckman told his colleagues.

In the Senate, most GOP members were seen without masks throughout the chamber’s session. Democratic senators wore masks throughout.

Masterson didn’t wear a mask during the session, nor did his family seated at the front of the chamber. As a family, he said later, they didn’t need to be socially distanced from each other under federal health guidelines, and he remained 6 feet from others.

The new Senate president had COVID-19 in the fall, one of at least seven lawmakers who were infected, also including Ryckman.

“(To) those who are no longer with us, to those in our very chamber today who have recently lost someone close to them, please know we are thinking about you and praying for you,” Masterson said in a speech to fellow senators.

[ COVID-19 IN KC: TRACKING CASES, DEATHS AND LATEST RESTRICTIONS ][ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE ]

MONDAY9:30 p.m. -- The De Soto School District said students in grades 6-12 will return to in-person learning starting Feb. 1. The students will transition to hybrid learning on Jan. 20. READ MORE.

12:30 p.m. -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported an increase of 5,180 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its first update since Friday, pushing the statewide total to 247,502 since the outbreak started.

KDHE officials said Monday the death total grew by 107 to 3,255 and hospitalizations increased by 94 to 7,351 since the outbreak started.

Health officials said Monday that 40% (+8%) of ICU beds are available and 82% (+0%) of the state’s ventilators are available.

The state said it has tested 1,066,516 people with 819,014 negative test results and an overall monthly positive test rate of 12.7%.

[ KANSAS COVID-19 COVID-19 DASHBOARD ]

Sedgwick County has the highest total of confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak with 44,604. Johnson County is second with 43,450 cases. Wyandotte County is third with 16,794 cases. Leavenworth County has 5,512 cases, Douglas County reports 7,003 and Miami County has 2,113.

Health officials they are monitoring 373 active outbreak clusters with 212 clusters reported in long-term care facilities.

10:30 a.m. -- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced 1,659 more COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state since Sunday’s update. These cases take the state's total to 424,986 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

Three more deaths were also reported, taking the state’s death toll due to the coronavirus to 5,951.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state said it has tested a total of 3,830,281 and 113,320 were tested in the past seven days. There have been 19,496 positive cases and an average of 2,785 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 32,799 (+50) confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 25,548 (+164) cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 6,823 (+44) cases in Clay County, 6,122 (+27) in Cass County and 2,646 (+32) in Platte County.

9 a.m. -- Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System said the hospital is treating 123 total COVID-19 patients with 56 in recovery phase and 67 acute cases, including 23 that are in the ICU and 14 on ventilators.

7 a.m. -- Kansas prisons ravaged by COVID-19 are set to be prioritized for vaccinations next — frustrating news for some lawmakers but welcome by inmates’ families and activists.

The state prison system — housing about 8,600 inmates — has reported 5,320 cases among offenders and an additional 1,076 among staff. Thirteen inmates and four staff members have died.

Gov. Laura Kelly confirmed Thursday that inmates would be vaccinated after health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. She said they were being prioritized based on guidance from doctors and public health experts. The second group also will include people 65 and older and critical workers such as firefighters, law enforcement officers, meatpacking employees, grocery store workers, teachers and child care workers.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican, said if it were “early in the game,” he’d say, “Let’s do it,” because the state pays for inmates’ medical care.

“With the percentage of occupants at a such high level already exposed and the antibodies are there for close to a year, I don’t know that it makes total sense,” Suellentrop said.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., an Olathe Republican, also criticized the plan to vaccinate inmates relatively early, saying, “We’re going to have a lot of discussion.”

But Nadine Johnson, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas, said the vaccines were critical.

“The virus has run rampant within Kansas’s crowded prisons and jails, but does not stop at those walls; it continues to threaten corrections staff and officers, their families, and communities statewide,” she said in a written statement, adding that some the inmates shouldn’t even be behind bars. “There are people incarcerated in our state’s correctional facilities for specious reasons founded in an unjust system. Their situation needs attention and action. Vaccination does not absolve that need.”

Deana Estrada, whose fiancé, Ronnie Loggins, got COVID-19 while incarcerated at the state prison in Lansing on drug and explosives charges, said the resistance to vaccinating inmates is “cruel.” Estrada, 34, said the prison outbreak has complicated efforts to treat Loggins for cancer. A clemency request is pending.

“They may have made bad choices and stuff, but obviously they didn’t do enough bad choices to make them be put on death row,” said Estrada, who lives in Junction City.

Demand for the vaccine is strong with the virus surging. Statewide the number of deaths rose by 121 from Wednesday to Friday, taking the state’s total to 3,148 or one case for every 925 of its 2.9 million residents. The number of confirmed cases rose by 5,504 to 242,322, or one for every 12 residents.

The rollout has been clunky at times. At Ellinwood Hospital in Barton County, there was confusion last week when the first shipment of 30 doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived without any notice. Staff hastily stowed them in the freezer before realizing they didn’t need to be kept at such cold temperatures and then had to call the manufacturer to see if they were still safe to administer. The verdict was yes.

Lindsey Bogner, the foundation and community education director at the small 25-bed rural hospital and nearby clinic, was among those who were immunized this week.

“The whole process there has been not as much communication as you would want, but that is probably normal in something like that that is being rolled out and is logistically very difficult to put together,” she sad. “It is hard to do, especially when you don’t have a very deep staff or you don’t have a lot of people to put toward it.”

Some health care workers have declined the vaccine for now, but Dr. Lee Norman, head of the state Department of Health and Environment, said they are in the minority.

He said this group, which he estimated made up about 20% of the health care workforce, typically forego the vaccine either because they want to wait longer to see that the vaccine is safe or because they’ve already had COVID-19 and “feel that they are immune and that they would rather have it go their colleagues.”

He said he believes there’s “only a very small number” of health care workers who don’t want to get the vaccine at all.

[ COVID-19 IN KC: TRACKING CASES, DEATHS AND LATEST RESTRICTIONS ][ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE ]

SUNDAY2:30 p.m. -- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced 2,744 more COVID-19 cases have been reported in the state since Saturday's update. These cases take the state's total to 423,327 total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

Four more deaths were also reported, taking the states death toll due to the coronavirus to 5,948.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state said it has tested a total of 3,819,153 and 103,696 were tested in the past seven days. There have been 18,437 positive cases and an average of 2,634 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 32,740 (+295) confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 25,384 (+205) cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 6,779 (+35) cases in Clay County, 6,095 (+65) in Cass County and 2,646 (+18) in Platte County.

[ COVID-19 IN KC: TRACKING CASES, DEATHS AND LATEST RESTRICTIONS ][ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE ]

SATURDAY7 p.m. -- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported Saturday that the state has 420,583 total confirmed cases since the pandemic began. That number is an increase of 3,825 cases from Friday's total.

There have now been 5,944 deaths linked to COVID-19 in Missouri, which up 32 from Friday’s total.

There have been 67 deaths reported in the last seven days.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state said it has tested a total of 3,798,436 and 101,358 were tested in the past seven days. There have been 18,570 positive cases and an average of 2,6953 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 32,445 (+397) confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 25,179 (+241) cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 6,744 (+141) cases in Clay County, 6,030 (+158) in Cass County and 2,628 (+107) in Platte County.

[ COVID-19 IN KC: TRACKING CASES, DEATHS AND LATEST RESTRICTIONS ][ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE ]

FRIDAY9:45 p.m. -- The Kansas City Public Library said it has closed Plaza Branch at 4801 Main St. after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Library officials said the staff member worked this week.

The Plaza Branch will reopen once the library can complete contact tracing, complete the cleaning, and ensure adequate staffing.

3:45 p.m. -- The Mid-Continent Public Library said its East Lee's Summit Branch at 2240 SE Blue Parkway is temporarily closed due to potential COVID-19 exposure. The book drop will remain open. Holds on materials that were available at the branch before the closure will be extended. The library said it is working with the Jackson County Health Department to determine additional next steps.

12:30 p.m. -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported an increase of 5,504 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its first update since Wednesday, pushing the statewide total to 242,332 since the outbreak started.

KDHE officials said Friday the death total grew by 121 to 3,148 and hospitalizations increased by 144 to 7,257 since the outbreak started.

Health officials said Friday that 32% (+0%) of ICU beds are available and 82% (+1%) of the state’s ventilators are available.

The state said it has tested 1,051,207 people with 808,885 negative test results and an overall monthly positive test rate of 13.2%.

[ KANSAS COVID-19 COVID-19 DASHBOARD ]

Sedgwick County has the highest total of confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak with 43,349. Johnson County is second with 42,456 cases. Wyandotte County is third with 16,576 cases. Leavenworth County has 5,395 cases, Douglas County reports 6,810 and Miami County has 2,083.

Health officials they are monitoring 373 active outbreak clusters with 212 clusters reported in long-term care facilities.

11 a.m. -- The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported Friday that the state has 416,758 total confirmed cases since the pandemic began. That number is an increase of 4,332 cases from Wednesday’s total.

There have now been 5,912 deaths linked to COVID-19 in Missouri, which up 30 from Thursday’s total.

There have been 66 deaths reported in the last seven days.

[ MISSOURI COVID-19 DASHBOARD]

Missouri does not list how many people have recovered from COVID-19.

The state said it has tested a total of 3,773,583 and 97,577 were tested in the past seven days. There have been 18,187 positive cases and an average of 2,598 cases a day in the last week.

Looking at local numbers, the DHSS reported 32,048 (+339) confirmed cases in Kansas City, Missouri, and 24,938 (+686) cases in Jackson County. The state also lists 6,603 (+58) cases in Clay County, 5,872 (+57) in Cass County and 2,521 (+93) in Platte County.

9 a.m. -- Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System said Friday the hospital is treating 141 total COVID-19 patients with 70 in recovery phase and 71 acute cases, including 23 that are in the ICU and 15 on ventilators.

7 a.m. -- Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced $68 million in federal aid for college construction projects and released close to $127 million he previously cut.

Parson last year blocked the state from spending nearly $450 million of its more than $35 billion budget after state finances took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday he said the state economy bounced back faster than expected, allowing much of the restricted money to now be spent.

Another $8.6 million is now available for state tourism, as well as $9.4 million for work programs for low-income families who receive state financial help.

Newly released funding also includes $14 million for state colleges and universities and more than $9 million for community colleges.

The state funding for colleges and universities is coupled with another $68 million from the federal government for Missouri schools to fix up old buildings. Parson said the money for university construction projects also will help put people back to work.

St. Louis Community College in Forest Park also received a $4 million federal grant to open an on-site childcare center for the first time.

6 a.m. -- Kansas expects to finish giving COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care residents and health care workers by the end of this month and has moved people aged 65 and older into the next group to receive the shots. READ MORE

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday announced new details about the order in which her state’s residents will be eligible for inoculations, and making people aged 65 to 74 years an earlier priority was the biggest shift.

The state’s previous plan had that age group getting theirs after people in “congregate” living, such as state hospitals, shelters for the homeless, and prisons.

[ COVID-19 IN KC: TRACKING CASES, DEATHS AND LATEST RESTRICTIONS ][ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE ]

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

READ THE FULL STORY:COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES: Missouri reports 2,780 new coronavirus cases on Thursday

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