44.8 F
Wichita
Sunday, November 29, 2020

Kansas Hospitals Seek Help From Nearby States, But The Whole Midwest Faces A COVID Surge

Sports Headlines

Kpreps: Hanover Beats St. Francis For 6th Title Under Heuer

BY: CONOR NICHOLL FOR KPREPS.COM NEWTON – Hanover coach Matt Heuer has said learning his offense can be difficult. Wildcat senior quarterback Jacob Jueneman called...

TCU Tops Kansas 59-23 at Kansas Memorial Stadium Saturday

Courtesy of Kansas Athletics LAWRENCE, Kan. – Despite a pair of passing touchdowns from junior quarterback Miles Kendrick, Kansas fell to TCU 59-23 Saturday night...

Late Field Goals Lifts Baylor Over K-State, 32-31

Courtesy of K-State Athletics WACO, Texas – A 30-yard field goal as time expired gave Baylor a 32-31...

K-State’s Men’s Basketball Game with Butler Postponed

Courtesy of K-State Athletics MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State's men's basketball game against Butler set for Friday, December...

KNDY Replay: Hanover Wins 2020 8-Man D-II State Championship vs. St. Francis

The Hanover Wildcats are your 2020 Kansas 8-Man Division II State Champions, after defeating the St. Francis Indians 46-24. Listen to the Championship broadcast as...
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen – Kansas News Service

Hospitals in Colorado and Nebraska are calling Kansas in desperate search of beds for coronavirus patients. But Kansas hospitals are asking them for the same.

November has brought on the strongest surge yet of the coronavirus across the region — and that’s before Thanksgiving gathers families together.

Already, priceless hours slip away for deathly ill patients while doctors at smaller hospitals in Kansas place call after call seeking intensive care openings at larger facilities.

Searches can take several hours of calling around followed by hours-long ambulance rides.

“It’s not just COVID patients that can’t get transferred,” Stites said. “It’s a heart attack. It’s a stroke. It’s everything.”

In October, KU Health System turned away 140 transfers. The flood of requests has continued this month.

The calls for help come from across Kansas and Missouri, but also as far away as Arkansas, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

“It’s a very scary situation,” Concordia, Kansas, family physician Justin Poore said. “We need help.”

Cloud County Health Center, where he works, called eight in-state hospitals for a recent patient. But people answering the phones in Salina, Topeka, Wichita, Manhattan and elsewhere all offered the same bad news.

The central Kansas hospital had to send its patient three hours by ground ambulance to Omaha, Nebraska. Because openings change daily, it had to repeat that search for the next patient, until finding them a spot in Lincoln.

As it is, even if Kansans all stayed home starting tomorrow, the surge would likely continue for weeks because more cases are incubating and progressing to the point of hospitalization.

“We need our communities to wear masks,” Poore said. “We need our communities to stop these larger indoor gatherings.”

During most of the pandemic, he said, his county of about 8,700 people managed to avoid major COVID outbreaks. This month, it has seen 200 cases.

Statewide, Kansas just confirmed 18,000 in seven days. It’s among more than 20 states that set fresh records for new COVID cases last week.

On an average day back in April, when Kansas was locked down, hospitals reported 104 hospitalized coronavirus patients to state health officials. The situation has worsened sharply in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the daily total topped 800 for the first time.

State health officials say some hospitals actually have open ICU beds. In effect, though, it doesn’t help because they lack enough nurses and doctors to function at full capacity.

Maj. Gen. David Weishaar told legislative leaders Friday that the Kansas National Guard isn’t pursuing the idea of field hospitals yet. There wouldn’t be enough health care workers to staff them anyway.

Some larger hospitals have opened overflow ICUs and scaled back elective care to make way for more of the critically ill.

Stormont Vail, the largest hospital in Topeka, is postponing some non-emergency surgeries that would take up beds overnight. On Thursday, KU Health System also began delaying some surgeries.

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving looms, with its prospect of even more people traveling and commingling. Across Kansas, tens of thousands of college students will head home from their campuses.

Stites fears Kansas City and surrounding areas are teetering on a cliff. Day after day, in video updates on Facebook, he begs the public to mask up for the greater good, and abide by social distancing.

“If you have a heart attack or a stroke, where are you going to go?” he pleaded on Thursday. “If you’re in a car accident, you have a big trauma, and you need to go to the hospital, where are you going to go? If the hospital’s overwhelmed with COVID patients, where are you going to go?”

Celia Llopis-Jepsen reports on consumer health and education for the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @celia_LJ or email her at celia (at) kcur (dot) org. The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.

Kansas Headlines

Safety Is The Secret Ingredient To Holiday Traditions

TOPEKA – With the arrival of the holidays there are many memories to be made and traditions to follow, and having children participate in...

Kansas Organizations Launch Effort to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 in Kansas

(Nov. 23, 2020) - Stop the Spread Kansas is a public awareness campaign urging Kansans to do their part in slowing the rate of...

Governor Kelly Makes $38.5 Million of CARES ACT Funding Available to Kansas Small Businesses, Slow COVID-19 Spread

TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly announced that the State Finance Council unanimously approved the Kansas Office of Recovery recommendations to allocate $20 million...

Governor Laura Kelly Announces New Steps to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced several new steps her administration is taking to combat the spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and...

KDOC Announces 5th Resident Death at Lansing Correctional Facility; 11th Overall Due To COVID-19

TOPEKA, Kansas – A Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF) resident who died Weds., Nov. 18 had tested positive for COVID-19. This is...

Kansas News Service

Kansas Hospitals Seek Help From Nearby States, But The Whole Midwest Faces A COVID Surge

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen - Kansas News Service Hospitals in Colorado and Nebraska are calling Kansas in desperate search of beds for coronavirus patients. But Kansas...

Kansas Republicans Keep Their 3 Congressional Seats; Davids Reelected In Kansas City Suburbs

By Stephan Bisaha Stephen Koranda, Nadya Faulx, Aviva Okeson-Haberman - Kansas News Service Democrats and Republicans in Kansas will keep their seats in the U.S....

Republicans Keep Kansas’ Open Senate Seat By Electing Roger Marshall

By Jim McLean - Kansas News Service OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Kansas Republican U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall is moving up to the U.S. Senate after...

‘It Is Not Sustainable’: Kansas’ Online Teachers Are Overworked And Quitting

WICHITA, Kansas — Less than a week into the new school year, the warning came: the school district’s COVID-19 learning plan expected too much from...

Kansas Nursing Homes Still Waiting On Coronavirus Testing Gear From The Feds, And Can’t Afford Labs

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen - Kansas News Service Phillips County Retirement Center got a coronavirus testing machine this month from the U.S. Department of Health and...