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While COVID-19 cases drop in Kansas, variants continue to spread



TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 1,450 new cases. That’s down 15.6% from the previous week’s tally of 1,717 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The state ranked 44th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

COVID-19 variant cases continue to tick upwards across the state, however. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 663 variant cases in 45 counties as of Monday, with roughly a third of those coming in Sedgwick County.

Overall, KDHE reported a rise of 345 cases since Friday, with no increase in deaths reported and 31 new hospitalizations.

The number of hospitalizations has ticked up slightly at the University of Kansas Health System, although officials hope the continued acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination helps cushion that increase going forward.

“I’m a little nervous about us being real open, I’m a little nervous the (case) numbers may rise,” Steve Stites, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System, said in a virtual media briefing.

About 43% of Kansans have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The national rate is 45.8%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows, with Kansas ranking 27th nationally.

Overall, at least 2.1 million Kansas residents have gotten at least their first shot, according to the CDC.

Within Kansas, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Chase, Scott and Atchison counties.

Adding the most new cases overall were Johnson County, with 365 cases; Sedgwick County, with 343 cases; and Wyandotte County, with 139. Weekly case counts rose in 32 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week’s pace were in Butler, Scott and Riley counties.