The University of Kansas Health System reports another record high number of COVID patients today. 123 with the active virus are being treated, the highest number of the pandemic. Yesterday it was 119. Only 18 of those patients are fully vaccinated. Two more patients died since yesterday, making 17 deaths since the beginning of January. 25 COVID patients are in the ICU, up from 23 yesterday. 20 are on ventilators, up from 16 yesterday. 47 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID but are out of the acute infection phase, up from 45 yesterday. That’s a total of 170 patients, up from 164 yesterday.
In the week since 18 hospital chief medical officers reported on this Morning Medical Update how dire conditions are across the state, things have gotten worse. On today’s program, four of those CMO’s provided updates and explained how their facilities are coping with the unprecedented COVID patient surge. They are Dr. Kim Megow, Chief Medical Officer, HCA Midwest Health, Dr. Lisa Hays, Chief Medical Officer, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, Dr. Raghu Adiga, Chief Medical Officer, Liberty Hospital and Dr. Sam Antonios, Chief Clinical Officer, Ascension Via Christi Health.
Also on the panel were Doctor Catherine Satterwhite, Region 7 health administrator for Health and Human Services and Doctor Lewis Satterwhite, a critical care physician at the health system. 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 to discuss how HHS is helping hospitals in the region and the tough conditions in area ICU’s.
Here are the key points from each of today’s speakers:
- For the first time, had to find out hospital’s morgue capacity
- One patient had to wait 48 hours in the emergency department for a bed
- Almost ran out of ventilators but just received seven more
- Almost out of monoclonal antibodies
- Record high number of patients being set every day
- Hospital beds are at more than 100% capacity
- All hands on deck because of staff absences. Business office members making beds
- “This is not a good time to slip and fall and come to the emergency department.”
- The “COVID blizzard” continues in the Metro area
- Only two ICU beds available in whole HCA system, closed to transfers
- Extreme blood shortage affecting ability to handle trauma and regular surgeries
- Disaster Medical Assist Team helping replace workers out sick with COVID
- Postponing many surgeries
- Explained why the number of ventilators in use is not a good indicator of the severity of COVID
- Staff getting COVID in the community and not at work
- Testing and medicine supplies continue to be a challenge
Dr. Catherine Satterwhite
- HHS has stockpiles of medical supplies and monoclonal antibodies being distributed in Kansas and Missouri, just not enough to go around
- Omicron is different in various parts of the country. Expect a sharp decline in cases at some point in our region, just not sure when. Too soon to say if we’ve peaked. We’re in for a rough couple of weeks.
- Boosters for 12 to 17-year-olds now available. Should have a big impact
- Number of unvaccinated people will determine how long virus lasts
Dr. Lewis Satterwhite
- It’s hard to get into an ICU these days and staff shortages compound the problem
- Whether you test positive or negative, stay home if you’re sick
- If you have COVID symptoms and can’t get tested, act with an abundance of caution as if you are positive until you’re tested
- The health system can normally take 65-70% of transfer requests, but are down to just 17%
- “In a world of hurt, it’s best to be at our best. Put on your mask, try to take care of each other, and remember at the end of the day, love is more powerful than anger.”
Thursday, January 13 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. You may remember Anil Gharmalkar. We shared his story of survival from COVID in October 2020. This long hauler now has a permanent reminder of what he went through, something he can’t live without. This over-the-road trucker will join us live from the road, along with Dr. Leslie Spikes, a doctor who has helped him in the long-COVID clinic.
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 email@example.com until further notice. Thanks for all you do and helping to keep the community safe with your reporting.
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