KANSAS CITY, Kan. — COVID-19 cases continue to rise and community health clinics are bracing for a potentially severe period in the late fall and winter.
Vibrant Health operates three clinic locations in Kansas City, Kansas. Their main location on North 12th Street is located in the 66102 zip code.
According to Wyandotte County, the 66102 zip code has the highest amount of coronavirus cases in the county, at 2,189.
Area hospitals are reporting a strain on bed space and resources, but Vibrant Health is seeing a different strain.
“We’re feeling the strain of staffing shortages. We’ve had our own staff, several of them who have been in isolation or quarantine for illness or contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19,” Dr. Kelly Kreisler explained.
Dr. Kreisler is the chief medical officer for Vibrant Health. She explained clinics are not seeing a large increase in patients because many are concerned about contracting a COVID-19.
Vibrant Health works to ease concerns with safety measures such as patients being screened before entering facilities and staff and patients wearing masks, according to Kreisler.
Despite the precautions, a decline in patients physically coming to clinics is a concern Kreisler says exists because many of their patients have pre-existing health issues that make them more likely to be affected by coronavirus.
“We see a lot of people with diabetes and hypertension and we’ve been working to have our community health workers reach out to individuals to give out blood pressures cuffs and scales and really diabetes supplies to try to get to them in their homes and help them do telehealth visits," Kreisler said.
Telehealth is one way Vibrant Health is taking steps to make sure patients' health needs are still met.
“We’re doing telehealth to be able to serve our patients. So we’re about 15 percent of our patients on telehealth now, so we’re able to get them that way,” Kreisler said.