University of Kansas Health System Dr. Stites talks omicron, holiday weekend

KU Health System
Posted at 10:05 AM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 11:05:44-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Kansas Health System hosted their Morning Medical Call Wednesday to talk about the rise of the omicron variant and the upcoming holiday weekend.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven Stites warned about making early assumptions about the omicron variant and said with the variant being so new there is a lot medical professionals don't know.

“People want to believe that it’s less severe, but right now we really don’t know," Stites said.

When asked about the best time to be tested for COVID-19 before visiting family for the holidays, Stites recommended a test the morning of or the day before visiting.

"The problem is that a test is a snapshot in time," Stites said. "You may not be negative in six or eight hours."

The morning call also included an ICU nurse, Caitlin Beatty, with the health system, who talked about her experience working with Covid patients.

“Seeing the guilt on family’s faces - maybe they went out or made choices that got their family members sick and seeing the pain in their eyes, it’s hard," Beatty said. "It’s difficult to watch them go through that.”

The University of Kansas Health System currently has 64 active infections with 19 of those patients in the ICU and 14 on a ventilator. Only three of the hospitalized patients were fully vaccinated.