Kansas health system declining to take patient transfers


A major Kansas health system is declining to admit patients from other hospitals because it has too few open beds with the faster-spreading delta variant wiping out recent months of progress for the state in containing COVID-19.

Dr. Steve Stites, the chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health System, said Wednesday that the bed space problem at its main hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, is now worse than it was last fall, when the average number of new cases per day was climbing toward pandemic highs. He said the hospital had open beds then because people were wearing masks and social distancing, and doctors weren’t seeing other infections.

Kansas is seeing its highest averages for new COVID-19 cases since late February, as confirmed cases of the fast-spreading delta variant surge, data shows. Stites said the University of Kansas Health System is turning down between one and six patient transfers per day, and the problem will get worse as new cases keep climbing.

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