Hospitals face worst surge yet

Small, rural hospitals can't transfer patients, who are dying in emergency rooms. Larger hospitals struggle with staff absences and COVID cases, and turn down transfers. Health officials call it the worst surge yet.

By

State News

January 6, 2022 - 9:21 AM

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Patients are dying in emergency rooms of small Kansas hospitals as larger hospitals that are struggling with soaring staff absences and COVID-19 cases turn down transfers.

Hospitals across the state painted a dire picture Wednesday of worsening conditions as the highly contagious omicron variant collides with a delta surge. They urged public officials to require masks and impose emergency declarations that could free up more resources, saying they are struggling to keep up with the demand for testing and that surgeries are being delayed and clinics canceled.

“This is hands down the toughest surge the medical community has had to face since the pandemic began in 2020,” said Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas, during a briefing with more than a dozen chief medical officers and infectious diseases doctors.

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