'We are full:' KU Health System unable to admit patients as COVID-19 cases rise

Posted at 4:11 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 22:05:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As COVID-19 cases rise due to the spread of the delta variant, doctors are expressing concern about hospital capacity saying "we're at a tipping point."

The Missouri Independent reported that Missouri recorded the highest level of cases totals since January.

In Kansas, the Associated Press also reported "that Kansas had an average of 495 new cases per day during the seven-day period that ended Wednesday, which was more than double the average for the seven-day period that ended July 7, two weeks earlier."

During a daily University of Kansas Health System COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health System, said the KU Health System is having to turn patients away because the hospital is full.

"We are full as a hospital, and because we are full, we cannot take transfers," Stites said during the briefing. "The rest of our hospital is running full steam."

On Wednesday, Stites reported the KU Health System has been turning down between one and six acute patients over the last several days.

In November, both Missouri and Kansas hit record levels of COVID-19 cases and Stites expressed concerns that the Kansas City area could return to those levels.

"I think people need a mask again; we're in trouble," Stites said. "The numbers are rising. Hospitals are full, we're turning away patients from outside places who need our care, both with COVID and without COVID, and I think we're at a tipping point, and if we don't take it seriously, we could easily end up back where we were in November."

Stites once again urged people to get vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus and to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

"This situation could well grow worse if we don't respond, and we have two great ways to respond," Stites said. "One, get vaccinated. Two, follow the rules of infection prevention and control."