KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Local health professionals are bracing for a potential uptick in COVID-19 patients following Halloween weekend.
Indoor and unmasked get-togethers are expected to add to the caseload, which has been steadily growing in size at Kansas City metro hospitals throughout October.
Across all of St. Luke’s Health System’s hospitals, there are currently 91 confirmed COVID-19 inpatients. They hit a system-wide record high of 108 inpatients earlier this week.
The trajectory of those numbers since the summer has only pointed upward.
“I don’t think it’s any big secret that we are also asking a lot physically and emotionally from our staff,” said Dr. Ginny Boos, St. Luke’s director of infection prevention.
She said they’re currently able to handle the COVID-19 caseload, but it’s been a lot of work.
“So there is a sense of fatigue, but our health system is also looking at that and trying to create resources — and we have implemented resources — to help our staff,” Boos said.
Comparisons have been made between COVID-19 and influenza, especially now that our region is entering flu season. But Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer of the University of Kansas Health System, said COVID-19 patients take up much more hospital resources to treat because of their greater numbers.
“It’s a bad day when you have four or five influenza patients in the ICU. We don’t have 15 or 20 [like COVID]. It’s nothing like influenza,” Stites said.
FOX 4 also learned more Friday about KU Health System’s recent move to expand their ICU. That’s actually never happened before for patients with any other illness, which health professionals refer to as an “entity.”