An eastern Kansas hospital ran out of ventilators on Friday as the state continued to report an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Lyon County Council declared a local emergency on Friday after Newman Regional Health Hospital in Emporia ran out of ventilators. The Kansas City Star reports that the declaration of emergency will help the hospital receive two more ventilators from the state’s emergency operations center.
Lyon County health officials reported 209 new cases of the virus on Friday, most of them from the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus. They also said a total of 481 people in the county had active cases of COVID-19.
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases in Kansas has skyrocketed over the past two weeks, from 1,109.29 new cases per day on Dec. 24 to 6,543.43 new cases per day on Friday.
In the Kansas City area, officials at the University of Kansas Hospital said they were scrambling to deal with staff shortages as the number of COVID-19 patients they were treating rose to 153 Saturday, compared to 108 Monday.
The number of hospital staff who are either sick with the virus or awaiting test results reached around 900 on Friday. A few days earlier, about 500 of the hospital’s more than 13,000 workers were discharged on January 3.
“We’ve never even been close to that amount throughout the pandemic… It’s just amazing,” said Gail Schuetz, assistant head nurse at the hospital.
Staff members who do not normally treat patients are encouraged to assist with care, as long wait times are reported in the hospital emergency room. The hospital has also restricted surgeries to help save resources.