Healthcare workers and community optimistic about COVID impact
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - For over two years now the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting the lives of people across the world, but how are the trends here in Kansas?
Ever since Governor Laura Kelly announced the shift from pandemic to endemic response, there has been more of a sense of normalcy.
And even though things are looking good, health officials say we shouldn't let our guard down just yet.
"Good thing that COVID is taking a step back,” said Danny Caylor.
People all over are feeling more optimistic.
“The wife and I both have been vaccinated in the family. So we're getting out and enjoying it. And you can tell by the weather today, it ain't so good. But normally, would everybody be out and just getting busier and busier everywhere you go,” said Caylor.
Even as the numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have continued to decline.
"I'm still very cautious,” said Jill Stromberg.
But some people like Jill Stromberg, say they're still concerned.
"I think we just have to be fluid with this. You know, I don't want, because there's just gonna be probably other versions of this virus coming in, and it's probably going to end up or we're going to have to have a vaccine every year to kind of prevent it,” said Stromberg.
Sedgwick County's latest records show the number of COVID-19 cases is low, which means masks aren't required, but health experts still encourage people to wear them if you have symptoms, tested positive, or have been exposed to someone with COVID.
As of last week, the health department reported 57 new cases in Sedgwick County, 61 in the state and no new hospitalizations.
"It's been great. We're really enjoying the rest. But, of course, we were in this position last year, before Delta developed and then Omicron,” said Dr. Tom Moore, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Wesley Medical Center.
Moore said at this point the numbers are low enough that it would be difficult justifying keeping COVID precautions in place, but there's always a chance numbers could rise again locally.
"Everyone is certainly tired of the situation we've been in. So but at the same time, as I say cases are increasing around us and certainly in the Northeast,” said Moore.
"I mean, it's a drop in the bucket compared to what it was. And so I understand how the fear level is not there now,” said Adrienne Byrne, the Director of Sedgwick County Health Department.
Byrne said the county has been scaling back on all COVID resources, from testing to vaccines to reporting data.
"Even though we're endemic, which means it's part of our community. It's still important if we're going to go to parties or weddings to weigh the risk,” said Byrne.
Byrne said right now her team is already looking to fall and flu season to prepare for a possible surge in cases, but only time will tell.