COVID-19 highlights for the week of 01/05/2022:
- Hospitals and EMS are strained from a dramatic increase in COVID-19, resulting in:
- Increased emergency room wait times and limited capability to treat patients in hospitals
- Increased difficulty transferring critical patients
- Limited capacity to accept new and treat existing patients due to bed and staffing limitations
- This burden on the health care system is further compounded by the number of open staff positions and the numbers of staff who are absent due to COVID and Influenza.
- A 5-fold increase in number of patients who expired in Emergency Departments waiting for transfer in the state of Kansas [Source].
- Positivity rates have increased sharply. This represents the percent tests reported that show a positive result as recorded by local public health. At-home tests are often not included in these numbers.
- Limited testing availability in hospitals, public health departments, and other sites including retail stores selling at-home test kits.
- Neither Kansas nor Missouri has active state-level Emergency Declarations for COVID-19.
What Can I Expect?
- High overall hospital volume, together with staff shortages, is threatening standards of care and may lead to longer wait times for emergency services and a decreased availability of local hospital beds.
- The result of state-level Emergency Declarations expiring is the termination of a number of COVID-related waivers which allowed hospitals and public health, among others, to operate more efficiently and effectively in the face of growing COVID infections.
- Reduction of non-life-threatening medical procedures in hospitals.
- Crisis Standards of Care under consideration.
- A continuing increase in the number of fatalities due to COVID-19.
- Changes to recommendations as the scientific community continues to learn more about both the immediate and the life-long effects of all COVID-19 variants.
- Given the current trajectory, we can anticipate continued increases in cases, deaths, and hospitalizations throughout the region. Mitigation measures remain our best option to change this trajectory.
What Can I Do?
Act with an abundance of caution during this time of extremely high community transmission in the Kansas City region.
- Minimize Risk: As community prevalence of COVID-19 continues to climb, it may be time to re-evaluate your activities.
- Get tested: Get tested after potential exposures. Do not use ERs for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. Visit PrepareMetroKC to see testing locations near you. If you cannot get tested and have been exposed, take additional precautions until you are able to test.
- Mask Up: CDC guidance recommends that everyone in communities with high or substantial levels of community transmission wear a mask in public indoor settings (CDC). You can check the transmission status of your community or those you intend to visit on the CDC Covid Data Tracker.
- Get vaccinated or get your vaccine booster: Check with your primary care physician or pediatrician’s office on where to find a vaccine near you. You may also visit vaccines.gov; text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233; or visit Prepare Metro KC (preparemetrokc.org).
- Follow Guidance: Continue to follow your local public health guidance regarding isolation and quarantine.
- Seek Appropriate Care: Use your Primary Care Physician or an Urgent Care Facility as an alternative to Emergency Rooms when appropriate.