Unvaccinated people lead to spike in hospitalizations across Kansas City, hospitals say

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A droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As cases drop in other parts of the US, the number of COVID-19 cases across Kansas City increases. This time the number of hospitalized cases are higher than they have been in months, according to some metro hospitals.

Saint Luke’s Health System said it had 40 people hospitalized due to coronavirus Thursday. That’s compared to 17 patients two or three weeks ago.

Truman Medical Centers had 15 patients Friday morning. The hospital said none of them had received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The University of Kansas Health Systems is treating more than two dozen COVID-19 patients. Friday morning the hospital had nine patients in the ICU with three of those on ventilators. Doctors said 14 of the 31 people hospitalized for coronavirus are recovering.

“For the longest time we have been just on one unit of our critically ill … we are housing them in one unit, but now we had to kind of spill over into a second unit again,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System. “So we haven’t had to do that for quite some time, a few months.”

Doctors also pointed out that the virus isn’t being caught soon enough to keep many people out hospitals.

“We’re not testing enough,” said Dr. David Wild, vice president of performance improvement at the University of Kansas Health System. “A lot of these that we’re seeing here are getting tested when they’re really ill rather than having a really good picture of maybe more mild disease or asymptomatic disease, and I think, I think, we’re seeing the implications of that.”

The hospitals said most, if not all, of the people hospitalized because of the virus at this point haven’t been vaccinated.

There are many opportunities to get a vaccine, even over the weekend, including a walk-up clinic at Northeast High School Saturday. You can also schedule appointments through Missouri’s Navigator and through the state of Kansas. Walgreens, CVS, and metro grocery store pharmacies are also vaccinating people.

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