Hospitals across Kansas are buckling as coronavirus cases swell, leading many schools to scale back in-person learning, and one county to intensify plans for a possible field hospital.
In western Kansas, ten of the 25 beds at Kearny County’s critical access hospital are filled with COVID-19 patients, and the number of people seeking testing at the adjoining clinic has doubled over the past week to about 80 per day.
Nurses had to make multiple calls before the University of Kansas Hospital, which is about 360 miles away, agreed to take a coronavirus patient whose oxygen levels were falling.
Several more calls were made to find an air transport company that could fly her there.
In Topeka, the emergency department at Stormont Vail Hospital has taken over a back hallway and a waiting room, with some patients waiting hours before they can be moved to a regular room.
Area officials are looking into turning an events center into a potential location for a field hospital that could house overflow COVID-19 patients.