As one-year anniversary nears, no new reported deaths from COVID-19 in Kansas

Andrew Bahl
Topeka Capital-Journal
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Friday no increase in the number of deaths linked to COVID-19, the first time that has occurred in months.

As the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 cases in Kansas approaches, the state reported Friday there has been no increase in deaths due to COVID-19 since Wednesday, the first time since last summer where that has occurred.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported a rise of 752 cases in that time period, as well as 32 new hospitalizations.

The lack of increase in deaths is the first time that has occurred since KDHE began reporting data in 48-hour increments in July. 

It underscores an improving COVID-19 landscape in the state as the one-year anniversary since the virus was found in Kansas looms on March 8. In the last year, there have been 295,861 reported cases of COVID-19 and 4,812 deaths.

A new report, released Wednesday from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, underscored the improvement, with only 11 counties seeing the highest level of virus transmission. The state's urban areas, such as Wichita, had a much lower risk level and others, like Shawnee, Ford and Finney counties, did not register at all.

The report pegs Kansas at 40th nationally in the number of new cases per 100,000 residents, 28th in the country for the percentage of tests returning positive and 17th in the number of new deaths per 100,000 residents.

Roughly 15% of Kansans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to KDHE data, with 658,459 shots administered. 

The state still is near the bottom of the pack nationally, ranking 45th in the number of doses administered per capita, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gov. Laura Kelly's administration is still blaming this on a data reporting lag, although it has been two weeks since steps were announced to address the problem.