KANSAS CITY, Mo. — University of Kansas Hospital doctors have provided daily updates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And as the more-infectious delta variant continues to surge throughout the Kansas City metro, Dr. Dana Hawkinson gave KSHB 41 anchor Dia Wall a live, virtual tour of one of its COVID-19 intensive-care units.
The doors seal to ensure no air flows out of the patient rooms, and the steady beep of ventilators echoes in the background. For the past few weeks, dozens of COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized there, up from just two at a low point in the pandemic.
"After going through what we've gone through the past year then, of course, we knew that the amounts of infections and cases and hospitalizations got a lot better, and that was really giving them [hospital staff] some rest and optimism," Hawkinson said. "Certainly with the delta variant surge, and also understanding that most of the patients here in the hospital are here because they are unvaccinated, it really continues to effect you emotionally."
He told KSHB 41 News that between 96% and 95% of the COVID-19 patients in their ICUs are unvaccinated.
When asked if efforts to ban masks or sow suspicion about the vaccines is discouraging, Hawkinson confirmed that it is.
"I'd certainly be lying if I didn't say that," he said. "But there is that very loud minority of voices that continue to do that. It only harms you individually, your family, your community that you live in."
At the time of the tour, there had been a slight decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases at the hospital.