The University of Kansas Health System hit a grim milestone on COVID patients today, reaching 100 with the active virus for the first time since November, 2020, before vaccines were available. That’s up from 96 yesterday and 73 on Monday. Only eight of those patients are vaccinated. Three patients died since yesterday. 22 COVID patients are in the ICU, up from 19 yesterday. 12 are on ventilators, up from 11 yesterday. 39 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID but are out of the acute infection phase, up from 37 yesterday. That’s a total of 139 patients, up from 133 yesterday and 108 on Monday.
Yesterday, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued an emergency declaration designed to help hospitals cope with the surge of patients. To discuss the impact, today’s Morning Medical Update guests were Dr. Kim Megow, Chief Medical Officer, HCA Midwest Health, Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, infectious diseases physician at Lawrence Hospital and deputy public health officer for Douglas County, Dr. Kevin Dishman, Chief Medical Officer, Stormont Vail Health, Dr. Robert Freelove, Chief Medical Officer, Salina Regional Health Center and Dr. Samer "Sam" Antonios, Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension Via Christi Health. They joined Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System and Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at the health system.
Key quotes from each of today’s speakers:
“Deepest appreciation to the Governor for the order. It’s going to allow us to bring more resources to bear.” Dr. Kevin Dishman, Chief Medical Officer, Stormont Vail Health.
“We have a lot of people in our company who spend a lot of time forecasting and modeling. The most current forecast model includes a peak that actually doubles our current numbers by the early part of February.” Dr. Kim Megow, Chief Medical Officer, HCA Midwest Health.
“With omicron, it really is right now a viral blizzard.” Samer "Sam" Antonios, Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension Via Christi Health.
“I’m surrounded by a community that supports science, and we had our mask mandate instituted in Douglas County yesterday.” Dr. Jennifer Schrimsher, infectious diseases physician at Lawrence Hospital and deputy public health officer for Douglas County.
“We’ve had to take some measures to defer some elective screenings. At some point what we deem elective is probably going to become urgent.” Dr. Robert Freelove, Chief Medical Officer, Salina Regional Health Center.
“Right now, for the short term, please rethink about going to some of these gatherings in the next few weeks.” Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at the health system.
“The enemy is not each other. The enemy is within and it’s twofold. The virus is the enemy, and the second enemy is dishonesty.” Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System.
Monday, January 10 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. The COVID surge continues to put a strain on the workforce. We’ll hear from a health system leader and the area Chamber of Commerce on on the consequences of so many sick workers.
NOTE: Journalists should rejoin the Morning Medical Update at 8am as doctors are growing too busy again for individual interview requests. Please bring questions or send to firstname.lastname@example.org until further notice. Thanks for all you do and helping to keep the community safe with your reporting.
ATTENTION: media procedure for calling in:
The meeting is available by Zoom, both video and by phone. To join the Zoom Meeting by video, click https://kumc-ois.zoom.us/j/7828978628
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