Topeka hospitals urge vaccinations as COVID-19 surge continues to take hospital beds

Stormont Vail Hospital Staff
Stormont Vail Hospital Staff(WIBW)
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 6:37 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - As the current COVID-19 surge continues to take up hospital beds and medical staff, Topeka hospitals have urged residents to get vaccinated and mask up.

Stormont Vail Health says on Thursday, Jan. 6, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a 15-day State of Disaster Emergency Declaration and executive orders to address the challenges COVID-19 has presented hospitals during the surge. It said these are important and appreciated actions.

Stormont Vail said curbing the virus in Kansas, caused by Delta and Omicron variants, will take the efforts of everyone and the action of political and government leaders at all levels.

With the Kansas legislature convening in Topeka on Monday, Stormont Vail said this could not be a better time for leaders to show they are serious about putting an end to the harm the virus is causing Kansans.

Stormont Vail said we can ultimately end the pandemic and in the short term, make the crisis manageable, if we come together to get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask, social distance and frequently wash hands.

The sentiment is shared by physicians across the state who hosted an unprecedented media conference earlier this week to address the crisis. Stormont Vail Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Dishman joined six others on Friday to update the state and discuss Gov. Kelly’s action, as well as further reiterate the challenges health care organizations face and what people can do to help.

“What we’re attempting to do is encourage every community member in Kansas to take every opportunity to prevent the contraction of this virus. That will have to remain our focus,” said Dishman. “Wearing your mask, getting vaccinated, that’s all about prevention.”

“People trust us every day with their high blood pressure or their obesity. This is no different. We’re making recommendations that will keep you from getting sick, help you remain healthy and help to support the amazing medical staff that we have taking care of all of us across the state every day.”

Stormont Vail continued to urge Topekans to protect everyone and get vaccinated, mask up, social distance and wash their hands.

As of Friday, Jan. 7, Stormont Vail said it had 51 inpatients positive with COVID-19 and the percentage of those who are unvaccinated or had their last dose over 6 months ago is 93%. From Thursday, it said there were two deaths and 16 discharges. There are also 131 COVID-positive patients in the gram. outpatient Enhanced Primary Care program.

Also as of Friday, Stormont Vail said it had 135 team members on contact leave for COVID-19 and 11 providers.

As part of the University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus’s continued efforts to keep the community healthy, it said KN95 masks are now available and encouraged for all employees. These masks cannot be used to replace fit-tested N95 masks. Employees can request them from their leader or by calling Central Supply. KN95 masks are tighter fitting than surgical masks, which improves the effectiveness and provides additional protection.

St. Francis said it also continues its temporarily modified surgical schedule, only performing urgent or time-sensitive surgeries. The post-anesthesia care unit in the Surgery Department will be used as an overflow area for inpatient units. The hospital will evaluate patient volumes next week and adjust the plan accordingly.

As of Friday, St. Francis said it had 34 COVID-positive inpatients. It said 85% of which were unvaccinated. The Critical Care Unit was above capacity at 114% and the Medical and Surgical Unit was at 98% capacity. There were 37 team members in isolation and no requests for direct admissions.

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