‘We need your help’: Kansas City hospitals ask people to take precautions amid COVID-19 spike

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders at hospitals across Kansas City say they are maxed out and need help to manage the surge of COVID-19 patients.

They say hospitals across the metro are experiencing an unprecedented demand for ICU and critical care services. Patients with severe COVID-19 cases are adding stress to an already overwhelmed system.

They say the situation is critical, especially for people suffering emergency medical situations like heart attacks, strokes, or trauma. Doctors say time is critical in these cases and right now patients aren’t getting care in a timely manner because hospitals are so full.

“The patients we are seeing in our hospitals are younger and sicker than ever before, and cases are continuing to rise. This is a situation that is going to continue to escalate unless each of us takes action to change the trajectory of this virus,” said Dr. Chris Perryman, Chief Medical Officer of Saint Luke’s Health System.

Kansas City hospitals say their resources are stretched like never before. They don’t have enough staff to take care of everyone who needs help.

“Like other health systems in the region, we are experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.  This surge is like no other: More than 95% of the critically ill patients are young, previously healthy patients — with an average age of 54 years old.  And unlike the COVID surge last year, most of these admissions are preventable,” said Dr. Kimberly Megow, Chief Medical Officer of HCA Midwest Health.

Health experts have said that small steps can make a huge impact. They say everyone should be wearing masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. They say this is because vaccinated people can still spread the virus to people who are not vaccinated.

“It is clear from data across the country that masks help bend the curve. Masking is not a long-term solution, but masks can help us until enough people are vaccinated that we can truly slow down this pandemic,” said Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer of University of Kansas Health System. “The combination of infection control and vaccination is how we find our way forward and keep our patients and community safe.”

They also say it’s critically important for everyone who can get a vaccine to do so. Vaccination can significantly reduce the severity of the virus, and the need to be hospitalized. It will also reduce transmission of COVID-19.

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