By the Associated Press and KFDI News:

Coronavirus hospitalizations have fallen in Kansas from their high last month. Staffing is under less strain as the shaky vaccine rollout gains momentum. But overall case numbers remain stubbornly high.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment data shows that 889 adults were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases as of Tuesday. That’s down 30% from a high of 1,282 on Dec. 2. It was the lowest COVID-19 patient count since early November.

The drop is good news for fatigued staff, who had to work overtime while co-workers were infected or quarantined. The situation grew so dire that staff at small hospitals were spending hours on the phone looking for places to transfer their sickest patients.

KDHE Secretary Lee Norman said he is encouraged by what he has heard from hospitals around the state.  He said Kansas has avoided the overwhelming numbers and staff shortages that hospitals in other states have had.    Dr. Norman said staff members are starting to return from isolation after illness or quarantine, and there is more of a sense of calm.

The state reported more than 4,500 new cases of coronavirus since Monday, and Dr. Norman said the state is still waiting to see if there will be an increase resulting from the New Year’s Day holiday weekend.