Coronavirus cases surge 10.1% in Kansas

Mike Stucka
A woman walks past an urgent-care clinic offering coronavirus tests in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Nov. 16, 2020.

New coronavirus cases leaped in Kansas in the week ending Saturday, rising 10.1% as 19,543 cases were reported. The previous week had 17,751 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Kansas ranked No. 11 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 1,184,520 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 16.5% from the week before. Across the country, 44 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Within Kansas, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Kearny, Republic and Russell counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Sedgwick County, with 3,972 cases; Johnson County, with 2,945 cases; and Shawnee County, with 1,046. Weekly case counts rose in 61 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Sedgwick, Wyandotte and McPherson counties.

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The share of Kansas test results that came back positive was 33.3% in the latest week, compared with 58.7% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 57,106 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 30,467. Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.

The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive. Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.

Across Kansas, cases fell in 41 counties, with the best declines in Johnson, Washington and Harvey counties.

In the state, 141 people died in the latest week. In the previous week, 86 people died.

A total of 137,066 people in Kansas have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 1,325 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 12,088,410 people have tested positive and 255,861 people have died.