KU Hospital expanding ICU as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The University of Kansas Health System has expanded its ICU as the number of local COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Other hospitals are seeing the same trend for cases.

On Thursday morning, the KU Health System reported it had an in-house record-setting number of patients with COVID-19. They say it’s a localized reflection of a national pattern.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, who participates in the daily hospital COVID-19 update – referenced their decision to overflow their ICU with another separate ICU.

“You know, yesterday I believe we had 36 patients in the hospital. We have 40 patients in the hospital,” Hawkinson said.

“That’s our highest number to start a day,” Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer for the KU Health System, said.

Another local hospital system echoes a similar trend.

“HCA Midwest Health has experienced an increase in COVID-19 patients as the number of positive cases has increased in our community,” according to a statement from a spokesperson for HCA Midwest Health.

At Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas City – notably treating young people -their system currently has five COVID-19 positive inpatients.

Back at the KU Health System, Stites said he thinks the climb in cases is related to colder weather driving people indoors, while “weariness” about precautions – like mask wearing – risks even more spread.

“It’s just unquestionable and I just get irritated when I read the paper or I read some other person and they’re questioning masks. I’m like, really? Come on. Let’s get over that question. There is just no question about that,” Stites said.

FOX4 also learned that as of Thursday the Saint Luke’s Health System of Kansas City had a total of 95 inpatients with confirmed COVID-19.

The Saint Luke’s Health System actually hit their peak number of cases earlier this week. That was 108.

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