Lawrence City Commission to receive report on local COVID-19 situation, including update on demographics and reopening goals

photo by: Mike Yoder

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., is pictured Thursday, July 7, 2016

City leaders will soon get a look at details regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Douglas County and efforts to address it.

As part of its work session Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will receive a report and presentation from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health regarding COVID-19, including demographic data on local cases, an update on reopening goals and positive test rate distribution by zip code and city. LDCPH Director Dan Partridge will provide the update to the commission and discuss recent activities to respond to the pandemic, according to a city staff memo to the commission.

Presentation materials attached to the memo include local demographic data, such as how positive cases break down among different age groups and races in Douglas County. The group most likely to test positive for the virus is Hispanic residents, with a rate of 11.37 per 1,000 people, followed by African American residents at a rate of 10.16 and white residents at a rate of 9.81. The groups with the two lowest rates are Native Americans at 7.63 per 1,000 and Asian Americans at 4.32.

Demographics regarding age continue to show that young adults make up the vast majority of cases in Douglas County. Of the approximately 1,500 positive cases broken down by age group for the report, which is current as of Sept. 2, roughly 870 fall under the 18-24 age group, or approximately 60%. Another approximately 200 cases fall under the 25-34 age group. Those two age groups combined make up about 72% of all the positive cases in Douglas County. And even though those over 65 make up far fewer cases — only about 100 cases and 7% of the total cases — they account for all nine local deaths so far.

Partridge will also provide the commission an update on the county’s reopening goals. Of the five goals set for reopening, the county is not hitting its targets on the three goals associated with community spread of the disease. During the week of Aug. 28, the county had 24 virus cases due to community transmission when the goal was fewer than five; had three outbreaks when the goal was zero; and had more than 400 active cases when the goal was to have fewer than 10. The other two goals are related to medical surge capacity. The county was on target on Aug. 28 regarding the number of hospital beds in use, with 38% of beds in use when the goal was to have less than 40% in use, and regarding the percentage of ventilators in use, with none in use when the goal was to have less than 20% in use.

Maps and charts showing the geographic distribution of cases indicate that cases are most heavily concentrated in the 66044 zip code, which includes parts of central Lawrence, North Lawrence and East Lawrence.

The City Commission will convene virtually at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, with limited staff members in place at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. The city has asked that residents participate in the meeting virtually, if they are able to do so, using temporary meeting procedures put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Directions for submitting public comment and correspondence are included in the meeting agenda that is available on the city’s website, lawrenceks.org.

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