We are continuing to work with health officials to publish school gating criteria in Sedgwick County. Here’s what we know so far on November 3:
The 2 Week Cumulative Incidence Rate is higher than it’s ever been in Sedgwick County. Rates in the community are currently listed at 409.5 per 100,000 – placing Sedgwick County in the Red zone by all standards we have studied. Clearly the trend continues to rise since the low in mid-September.
Percent Positive Rates over 14 days dropped to a low of 4.8% in mid-September and have steadily increased since that time. This last 2 weeks, we find ourselves above 15% for the first since metrics have been recorded.
Hospital data has not been provided in the Sedgwick County trend analysis we rely on for 3 weeks. KDHE published data with an error last week during our update process, so we cannot make a ranking of hospital data at this time.
What do the experts say about school?
Adrienne Byrne, Director of the Sedgwick County Public Health Department spoke about the gating criteria and the state of new cases in Sedgwick County at a meeting of the Wichita School Board on Friday, October 23 – provided below. In that meeting, she reported that there was no data to confirm that cases have risen due to schools being opened. She also mentioned that cases have been increasing in people between the ages of 20-29 and 40-49. Later in her comments, she notes that there has been only one cluster identified in schools and reveals there is no data to confirm the cases are increasing because schools are open. She also theorized that school gating criteria may need to be updated with the new information they have received.
Wichita BOE holds special meeting
WATCH LIVE: Wichita school board discusses the possibility of all students going full remote amid the county's "rapid increase in COVID-19 cases." https://bit.ly/3edgZdYPosted by KAKE-TV on Friday, October 30, 2020
Finally, the White House report dated 10/25/2020 made available by the Center for Public Integrity indicate that cases are on the rise in Kansas mainly due to “home gatherings.” This report can be found here: Center for Public Integrity: White House Coronavirus Reports
So where does this leave us Sedgwick County? There’s no doubt that cases are on the rise right now both in our county and elsewhere around the state. These rises place a burden on our healthcare facilities. At the same time, it’s good news that rates in schools are not the culprit.
Experts suggest diligence in practicing social distancing and masking in gatherings with members outside of your household, limit sizes of indoor gatherings, mask up when you have to be inside and closer than 6 feet. Take extra precautions to protect the elderly and those at risk.
Prior to these latest numbers, Sedgwick County has been below average of other urban areas in Kansas and surrounding states. This is one place being below average is a good thing.
You can find more details about the data here: School Gating Criteria Metrics.