Kansas City, MO

Health officials express concern as Kansas City area hospitals begin to fill up with COVID-19 patients

Evan Crosby

Image by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia from Unsplash

Kansas City, Mo. - With COVID-19 cases surging across the Kansas City area, regional hospitals are feeling the strain on their resources. For example, increasing demand for ambulances and beds are making them harder to come by.

Therefore, several hospitals around the metro are reporting that their COVID patients are at levels not seen since the end of 2020, which was during the height of the pandemic. Health officials and doctors are concerned about the rapid surge in cases, largely due to the highly contagious delta variant, as well as the fact that so few patients are vaccinated.

Dr. Tim Williamson, Vice President of Quality Safety for the University of Kansas Health System, told Fox4 KC that it's still unclear just how bad things will get.

According to Williamson, "We’ve not peaked yet likely. And we don’t know how long this surge will last. Ninety-nine plus percent of the patients who have died in our hospital are not vaccinated. And the vast majority of patients we have hospitalized are not vaccinated."

Williamson also said that while the hospital system isn't overwhelmed yet, they could be soon if the uptick in COVID patients continues. As of August 10, 2021, the hospital has sixty patients with COVID-19, eighteen of which are in the ICU.

St. Luke's Health System said in a statement that they have a combined total of around 140 patients in all of their hospitals.

Nathan Hopper, who manages emergency management for the Kansas City Fire Department, told Fox4 KC:

It has been an 18 month almost unending human disaster, essentially. A catastrophe that isn’t going away. The big limitation and this is true everywhere is ICU and critical care beds, and those are very precious. So, when they’re occupied by people that are suffering from COVID they’re not available for people that are having acute medical problems and so those are the patients that are having to be transferred to places outside of this area.

Both Hopper and Williamson say that it's going to take getting vaccinated and wearing masks to get the pandemic (and unnecessary) deaths under control.

So far, Kansas City area hospitals haven't had to transfer any COVID patients to hospitals outside the metro due to a lack of beds and resources. However, with the rise in new cases over the summer, especially among younger patients in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, regional hospitals could be at their breaking point.

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