Hospitals on Edge as COVID-19 Admissions Soar

Just weeks after staving off the surge of pandemic-driven admissions that began in the summer, area hospital officials are again experiencing the systematic stress of soaring patient counts as the COVID-19 fall surge continues.

The University of Kansas Hospital, the region’s largest single-site facility, reported this week that its COVID-19-related admissions had soared to 62, nearly matching the peak it saw last summer when the Delta-variant increase took hold in Missouri. 

Health-system executives say they are managing the increase, which saw more than 700 people hospitalized across the metro as of today, and reduced numbers of admissions from non-COVID cases is helping ease some of the stress. According to the Mid-America Regional Council’s daily tracking dashboard, 2,800 people are currently hospitalized for reasons unrelated to COVID, down 21 percent from the 2021 peak of 3,546 hospitalizations on July 15.

That has allowed absorption of the surge in COVID admissions–702 as of Tuesday–which account for 13.65 percent of occupied beds. That’s approaching the 15 percent figure that hospital-sector analysts suggest represents a significant stress on an organization’s resources. Non-COVID cases accounted for 57.24 percent of admissions, while slightly more than 29 percent of bed space remains free.