The 14-day moving average of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Douglas County has recently reached a new high, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health statistics showed Monday.
Before the past week, the county had peaked back in November 2020 at about 82 new cases reported each day.
The highest number thus far through the pandemic is now 90.64 new daily cases — recorded Dec. 30 — representing a 92.3% increase from the 14-day average recorded at the beginning of December. Monday’s 14-day average was 89 new cases per day.
According to the county’s latest update, 1,538 cases of the respiratory virus remain active, and 93 new cases have been confirmed since Saturday.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the county said Monday, currently has 14 COVID-19 positive inpatients, and more than 500 Douglas County residents have now been hospitalized with COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.
LMH has not yet seen a spike in hospitalizations corresponding with the latest fast-rising case numbers, and its reported patient totals have stayed in the mid-teens for several weeks; however, hospitalizations can lag anywhere between five and 14 days following the onset of virus symptoms.
The county on Monday also reported three additional deaths from the virus — a woman over 85 years old, a man between 75 and 84 years old, and a man between 45 and 54 years old — bringing Douglas County’s pandemic death toll to 114.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment performs genetic testing on a very small percentage of positive COVID-19 tests to determine the variant of the virus. Statewide, the omicron variant accounted for 58.14% of cases sequenced during the week of Dec. 26 — a jump from about 9% of cases just two weeks prior. The delta variant accounted for 41.86% of the samples sequenced in the latest data, down from 90.71% two weeks prior.
Douglas County confirmed Kansas’ second case of the variant in early December. More recent stats from the KDHE show that the county has now had five known cases of the omicron variant, documented through the 1.8% of positive tests statewide that were sequenced in December.
As of Dec. 29, Douglas County has been in the “Red” zone of its community transmission indicator, which is implemented when the county records either a rolling average of 50 new cases each day or more than 1,000 total active cases. The indicator signals when local health officials might begin a push for a communitywide mask mandate and suggest limiting in-person contact.
Note: A statistic in this article has been corrected.