Concern for doctors as metro hospitals see increase of COVID-19 patients

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A record number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and now concerns for some of the doctors treating them.

The University of Kansas Health System says they have the most coronavirus patients they’ve seen during the pandemic. Tuesday the hospital reported 39 admitted patients, 11 of them in the intensive care unit and eight on ventilators.

St. Lukes’ Health System says it’s hospitals have 54 patients. On Monday that number was at 63. Truman Medical Center has fewer hospitalizations at 26, eight of them in the ICU.

Steven Stites, MD, the Chief Medical Officer at the University of Kansas Health System says they are handling the cases now, but worry numbers could rise.

“You have the power,” Stites said. “You have the ability to make this stop.”

Doctors say wearing your mask, social distancing, and washing your hands will make all the difference.

While some hospitals are seeing a rise, others see a decline.

“We’ve seen a bit of a decline over the last two weeks we were at a high of 36 to two weeks ago,” said Mark Steele, MD, Executive Clinical Office at Truman Medical Center.

“If everybody wore a mask, if we all wash our hands, we can stop this outbreak even before we get to a vaccine,” Dr. Rex Archer, Director of the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department said.

Archer said he’s concerned heading into the school year and flu season that numbers could rise.

“There will not be enough staff and hospital beds. And we will have to be triage beds for folks and nobody wants that,” Archer said.

Doctors say the greatest weapon to fighting the spread are simple things that can save lives.

“It’s the same thing we’ve been doing for over a hundred years with infection prevention control,” Stites said. “Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay distanced, do the things that worked in the flu pandemic of, oh wait, 1918. We can stop it in its tracks.”

The Health System says their patients range in ages. The youngest is 18.

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