AdventHealth Shawnee Mission says it has zero active COVID-19 patients

Health care workers at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission in Merriam. Image via AdventHealth Kansas City's Twitter account.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission in Merriam said Monday that it had zero COVID-19 patients in its entire facility.

Why it matters: It’s a major milestone for one of Johnson County’s biggest hospitals and another indicator that the impacts of the BA.2 subvariant on the local health care system may not be as severe as previous waves of the virus.

How we found out: In a tweet Monday, AdventHealth said it had no active COVID-19 patients in either its ICU or its progressive care unit, or PCU, which has been the hospital’s ongoing COVID-19 unit during the pandemic, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Not alone: Other local hospitals, including KU Health and St. Luke’s, have also celebrated zero COVID patient milestones in recent weeks, and other health care systems like HCA Midwest have reported dwindling COVID-19 patient caseloads.

Other steps remain in place: Hospital officials say they are still asking visitors to wear masks and require staff to wear masks in any public and patient-facing areas.

AdventHealth is still testing patients who have been admitted with COVID-like symptoms or have been exposed to the disease.

New cases are rising: Still, new COVID-19 cases spurred by the BA.2 subvariant are on the rise in Johnson County, but its impacts on local hospitals don’t seem to be as severe as during previous waves of the pandemic.

Local health officials still encourage residents to take steps to protect themselves, including getting vaccinated and boosted, but the county health department has stopped short of recommending a return to mask mandates.

Key quote: “Over the past two years, there has been fatigue and burnout as we’ve experienced staffing shortages amidst various surges. Today, the first day with zero active COVID patients since March 2020, there is a feeling of hope throughout our teams. Despite all we’ve been through, we’ve also come together and supported each other through challenging times,” said Morgan Shandler, spokesperson for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.