Hospitalizations in Kansas and nationwide signal ‘summer surge’ of COVID-19

by Rachel Mipro, Kansas Reflector
August 4, 2023

TOPEKA — A national summer uptick in COVID-19 cases has arrived, but Kansas physicians are still waiting to see if cases in the state follow national trends.

Across the U.S., hospitalizations have been on the rise since the beginning of July, the first increase seen this year, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The organization reported 8,035 new hospital admissions for the week ending July 22, marking a 12.1% increase compared to the week prior. The CDC has stopped tracking cases of infection, so hospitalizations are now the primary indicator of COVID-19 spread.

For the past three years, summer surges in COVID-19 have happened because of increased movement and travel. While the increase in cases isn’t near the levels seen during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, state physicians recommend taking summer booster shots.

The University of Kansas Health System reported treating 15 COVID-19 patients this week. Dana Hawkinson, director of infection prevention and control at the system, said it may be too soon to say there was an overall “summer surge” in Kansas.

“Whatever community you’re living in may be different than the next community over, or something that is further away from you, so I think we just need to wait about that, as far as the overall numbers,” Hawkinson said during a Friday news briefing.

New Kansas COVID-19 cases haven’t been widely documented since the end of the federal COVID-19 emergency declaration in May, when the state stopped updating statistics, but the vaccination rate is still tracked on a monthly basis.

CDC data show 65.6% of Kansans, including 76.3% of adults, have completed a primary vaccination series for COVID-19. And 15.9% of Kansans, including 19.6% of adults, have received a booster shot.

Hawkinson said elderly Kansans, along with residents who have pre-existing conditions, remain the most vulnerable to infection.

“This disease has really started to become a disease of those most at risk — certainly age, those with immunocompromising conditions,” Hawkinson said.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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