Several dozen hospitals in Kansas reported on Wednesday that they expect to deal with staffing shortages over the next week as the state continues to report an average of well over 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day. The Wichita area’s two major health systems said Wednesday that almost 150 coronavirus patients were hospitalized, their highest numbers since the pandemic began. Additionally, they are trying to bring about 60 nurses from outside Kansas into the state to help with staffing, and it has converted space into two new units for COVID-19 patients.
A surge in cases has also prompted public health officials and the local Chamber of Commerce in south-central Kansas to advise residents to be more diligent in following the mask mandate and following other public health recommendations, such as observing social distancing and avoiding gatherings. Public health officials say Kansas is seeing such large numbers of new cases because too many people aren’t wearing masks in public, aren’t social distancing and aren’t avoiding gatherings. They contend that people are letting their guard down at family events such as parties, weddings and baby showers.
The state averaged 33 new hospitalizations a day for the seven days ending Wednesday. The state health department reported 91 new hospitalizations since Monday, bringing the total to 3,984 since the pandemic reached Kansas in early March. The state also reported an additional 41 deaths since Monday, to bring the pandemic total to 1,087. Kansas averaged 11 additional deaths a day for the seven days ending Wednesday.