KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, announced Monday evening that it has a critical shortage of COVID-19 test kits due to the omicron variant surge and demand in testing across the country.

“We did not receive our shipment of testing kits today and have been put on allocation by the company that supplies those kits,” Children’s Mercy leaders said in a statement.

Dr. Jennifer Watts said this is wrecking havoc on their facilities. They do about 5,000 tests a week, she said.

Last week, the hospital had more than 1,400 positive cases across all their testing sites. Dr. Angela Myers said that’s the highest they’ve ever seen. 

“We are not at the peak yet; we are still on the rise,” Myers said. “Our trajectory is a vertical line up right now. And clearly our inability to do all the testing we would like to is going to be a factor this current week.”

Children’s Mercy said starting Wednesday, Jan. 19, COVID-19 testing will be based on its current volume and supply. Testing will be limited to clinical employees and its pre-procedural and admitted patients.

“The testing supplies are in shortage, so we may not get as much as we have been getting up to this point, but how much that is going to be is yet to be seen,” Watts said.

Until further notice, Children’s Mercy will not have routine COVID-19 testing in its emergency departments, urgent cares, clinics or drive-through locations, with some exceptions:

  • Patients in the ED and Urgent Cares who meet strict testing criteria and whose results would impact clinical decision-making will still be offered testing.
  • Drive-through testing will be limited to patients scheduled for procedures and employees.

Watts said the limited testing will impact a lot of operations for Children’s Mercy.

“We test our staff, and we need our staff back so that we can continue to provide care and keep the hospital running,” she said.

Watts also understands the importance of kids getting tested to get them back in school.

“Not being able to test everybody that we want to is another hardship on top of all the others that we are facing,” Watts said.

Children’s Mercy is hoping their shipment of tests comes in this week, but they won’t know until it hits their doors. They hope to get drive-thru testing back up and running as soon as possible.

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