Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health is ending its regular COVID-19 updates after this month

photo by: Kevin Anderson/Journal-World File Photo

The Lawrence-Douglas County health department's home at the Community Health Facility, 200 Maine St., is pictured in this file photo from July 2010.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health’s regular coronavirus updates are coming to an end after this month.

The health department will no longer report community COVID-19 data once per week, ending the local data tracking it’s been performing since March of 2020. The change coincides with President Joe Biden’s decision to sign off on a bipartisan congressional resolution earlier this week ending the U.S. national emergency to respond to the pandemic. The national COVID-19 public health emergency is still in effect until May 11.

The frequency of health department updates was reduced from three days per week to just once per week last year in May, and updates since the start of 2023 have omitted the familiar yellow graph tracking the county’s 14-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases since early March of 2020.

At that time, the health department said it would continue to regularly communicate about local hospitalizations and deaths, but the updates also stopped including inpatient data from LMH Health this week.

A representative with the health department responded to some concerns from members of the public about stopping the updates that were posted as comments on a social media post announcing the change. The representative directed folks who are concerned about tracking local data to bookmark links to the City of Lawrence’s wastewater testing numbers, or to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s data dashboards. Lawrence joined a nationwide initiative to monitor its wastewater for infectious diseases like COVID-19 last August, and its participation in the study was set to last for at least one year.

The health department also says it will continue to report on surges and other urgent public health concerns if they arise.


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