‘We’re on fire’ — University of Kansas Health System says it now has 100 ‘active’ COVID patients

The University of Kansas Health System now has 100 active COVID-19 patients in the hospital. More than 40% of those are in the ICU, and 26 patients are on a ventilator. Above, Steven Stites, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System, during his weekly media update. 

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have continued to increase across the Kansas City metro, reported Steven Stites, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System Monday during the daily University of Kansas Health System update.

“It’s tough out there right now,” Stites said.

The University of Kansas Health System now has 100 active COVID-19 patients in the hospital, with an additional 39 patients in recovery. More than 40% of the active patients are in the ICU, and 26 patients are on a ventilator.

Meanwhile, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission has 36 in-patients with COVID-19, with six on ventilators.

“The hospitalizations definitely are following all of that huge trend in the new cases that we have seen starting a few weeks back,” said Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System said during Monday’s briefing.

The weekend saw a sharp increase in the intake of COVID-19 patients. On Friday, the University of Kansas Health System recorded 78 patients with the disease, which at the time, was a daily record.

As of Monday, the percent positive rate for COVID-19 in Johnson County sat at 15.6% with 822 new cases per 100,000 residents, according to the county’s online COVID-19 dashboard.

Stites emphasized that the increased trend in hospitalizations was not unique to the Kansas City area, and noted that Lawrence Memorial hospital struggled with not having enough ventilators last weekend.

Stites spoke at length about the importance of residents following government mandates, like wearing a mask in public.

“Right now, we’re on fire,” Stites said. “There’s only one way to put out that fire and that’s to use those rules.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published research that incorporated data from Kansas health officials that demonstrated that masks are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

“It is a fool’s wisdom that pursues the logic that says a mask doesn’t work,” Stites said. “And it endangers all of us when you don’t wear a mask in all these simple circumstances.”