KDHE's Lee Norman: One out of 10 Kansans has had COVID-19

Titus Wu
Topeka Capital-Journal
Lee Norman, Kansas secretary of health and environment, gives updates regarding COVID-19 during his weekly press briefing at the Statehouse.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 1,121 new cases between Monday and Wednesday. There were also 81 deaths and 86 new hospitalizations in the same time frame. 

In an update Monday to state lawmakers, KDHE Secretary Lee Norman said one out of 10 Kansans has had COVID-19.

"We don't believe the immunity from the COVID-19 infection is going to be a durable or lasting immunity, and those people should get vaccinated," he said.

In Phase 1 of the coronavirus vaccine distribution process, which includes health care workers and long-term care residents, there were 220,000 people in that group. About 88% of long-term care residents chose to be vaccinated, and about 65% of long-term care workers did the same.

The percentage of health care workers choosing vaccination were the "same numbers" as LTC residents, said Norman.

Now the state is working through Phase 2, consisting of about 1 million people. It includes those 65 ages and older, high-contact critical workers and people in congregate settings.

Because of extreme cold weather, there was no to little doses received last week. All of that has been pushed to this week, Norman said.

The number of vaccine providers have grown. Back in December, there were only 350 vaccination sites in Kansas, mostly local health departments or hospitals. Now, over 1,000 providers are enrolled, the majority of them pharmacies.

All that is to say the state is making progress on vaccination, and as much as 79% of allocated vaccine doses have been administered in the state, said the secretary.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still ranks the state near the bottom on vaccine administration rates per capita, but Kansas now ranks 45th as of Wednesday with 17,759 doses administered per 100,000 people.