Weekly COVID-19 Update: Lenexa nursing home among first in JoCo to receive COVID-19 vaccinations

Above, a resident at Homestead of Lenexa assisted living, 8740 Caenen Lake Road, receives the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday. Photo courtesy Homestead of Lenexa.

The Shawnee Mission Post is making much of its local coverage of the coronavirus pandemic accessible to non-subscribers. (If you value having a news source covering the situation in our community, we hope you’ll consider subscribing here).

A nursing home in Lenexa is one of the first long-term care facilities in Johnson County to receive a batch of COVID-19 vaccinations.

The vaccines were administered Wednesday morning to Homestead of Lenexa though an on-site clinic provided by CVS.

“We feel fortunate to be offering the vaccine to our residents and staff,” said Homestead of Lenexa executive director, Steven Janasz. “We cannot thank CVS and the CDC enough for prioritizing our community and senior living communities across the country.”

‘Restore a sense of normalcy’

Janasz said while the vaccine is not mandatory, the “overwhelming majority” of residents have decided to get it.

“Of course, they want to protect their health, but it’s more than that,” Janasz said. “Our seniors – and all of us quite frankly- are hopeful the vaccine will be effective and will restore a sense of normalcy.”

Since the COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses to be fully effective CVS will return to the senior living facility in January to provide the second dose, and will also provide an additional future clinic to ensure any new residents are vaccinated.

New cases continue downward trend

COVID-19 infections continued its downward trend in Johnson County this week, with new cases by 100,000 residents dropping more than 16% over last week. The new cases by week metric saw an even more steep decline at 32%.

Health officials at the KU Health System said physicians had reported improved patient numbers in the Kansas City Metro over the Christmas holiday.

Steve Stites, chief medical officer at KU Health Systems, attributed the decreased cases to better behavior among the public, and not to the vaccine rollout —which he said was still too new to be causing the decline.

“I think you have to look back and say a lot of this has to be due to the mask mandates and things like that in the metro area and people just doing the right thing and following the pillars of infection control because they really do work,” Stites said.

Here’s a look at the overall trends in Johnson County:

Three key metrics in measuring COVID-19 infections (cases per 100,000 individuals, new cases per week and percent positives) all continued their downward trend this week. Data via Johnson County Department of Health and Environment’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Health officials across Kansas get vaccinated

Chances are by now you’ve seen several images of state and local officials, and healthcare workers, receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations. Gov. Laura Kelly is scheduled to get her vaccination today.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday during the KU Health System’s daily media update.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at the KU Health System, joined that growing list of local health officials getting vaccinated for COVID-19. Hawkinson received his first dose of the two-shot Moderna vaccine live on-air during KU’s daily media briefing Tuesday.

After the vaccination Hawkinson said he “felt great.”

Stites urged anyone who had the opportunity to get the vaccine to take it.

“There is a call to arms folks. It’s coming to you,” Stites said. “Don’t squander that opportunity. Don’t throw away your shot. Because you want to get back to normal.”

Recent COVID-19 coverage:

Johnson County and State announcements