KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Chief medical officers across Kansas City warn if community spread of COVID-19 does not slow down, hospitals will soon hit capacity.
Hospital leaders met virtually Friday over a webinar with the Mid-America Regional Council. They informed local officials hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients are the highest they have been in Kansas City since the start of the pandemic.
Missouri reported another record-breaking number of new COVID-19 cases on Friday, which brought the state's total to well over 200,000.
They say the area is at risk of hitting a boiling point in care.
“We are at a critical juncture between concern and crisis. Unfortunately, that needle is trending more and more toward crisis every day,” said Dr. Steven Stites with the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Hospitals are typically busier around the late fall and early winter with flu cases. Dr. Larry Botts, Chief Medical Officer of Advent Health, pointed out social distancing will be a challenge in the colder months.
“This is going to become even more difficult as we enter the winter months and more of our time is spent indoors in those crowded conditions,” Botts said.
The Chief Medical Officer of Liberty Hospital, Dr. Raghu Adiga, reports COVID-19 patients occupy 25 to 30 percent of his beds.
All healthcare leaders on the call said it’s not the number of available beds that concerns them, but the lack of staff to provide care for the full beds. They said they are monitoring staffing issues as a record number of nurses and care team members must isolate due to exposure to the coronavirus.
Advent Health said it is currently hiring and cross training support staff for the ICU and COVID unit teams. The hospital already utilizes some contract staffing in nursing and may increase its reliance on contract staff.
Truman Medical Center Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Mark Steele, said he is working to keep existing staff members on board through the winter.
“We have to keep our eyes open and make sure people aren’t getting burned out and provide whatever support is needed for them in those situations,” Steele said.
Health officials said the current situation is not critical, but it is easily possible to get there.
Active hospitalizations, not including recovered patients, as of November 6, 2020:
Liberty Hospital – 32 positive, 2 in ICU, 2 on ventilators
North Kansas City Hospital - 57 positive, 12 in ICU, 9 on ventilators
Truman Medical Center – 30 positive, 6 in ICU, 2 on ventilators
St. Luke’s Health System – 114 positive
Advent Health – 30 positive, 8 in ICU, 5 on ventilators
University of Kansas Hospital – 51 positive, 18 in ICU, 10 on ventilators