Scott County sends patient out of state because hospital beds were full

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 8:39 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Scott County sent a patient out of state because Kansas hospitals were out of ICU beds at that time.

Scott County Emergency Management Director, Tim Stoecklein, describes it as an “hour-by-hour” situation. As patients need to be transferred to the ICU, hospitals must weigh whether to send them farther away or wait for a room at a closer ICU to open. “You’ve got to make those decisions on where to transport patients and I think our hospital staff has done a great job making those tough decisions,” Stoecklein says.

As of Friday, Scott County has 44 active cases and 14 tests pending. Stoecklein is urging everyone to use precautions to reduce the spread, and that includes re-thinking plans for the holidays. “A lot of the cases that we’re seeing are due to small gatherings, whether it’s families, neighbors, you know people that maybe they’ve been around a lot and haven’t had any issues and now people are transmitting it unknowingly,” he says.

Stoecklein suggests families follow CDC guidelines, even at holiday gatherings for close friends and extended family.  “We don’t want to take away folks' ability to get out socialize that’s so important, physically, mentally and emotionally,” he says, “But at the same time, we’ve got to include precautions during those activities as well.”

That includes wearing a mask around anyone who does not live in your household, stay six feet apart when possible, and disinfecting surfaces. Stoecklein says families should consider outdoor gatherings when weather permits.

Scott County did not initially require masks in public, but later mandated them when cases increased. He says compliance has also increased. “We’ve seen a lot more people wearing masks lately in the grocery stores and restaurants, things like that,” Stoecklein says. “So hopefully people are getting the message, or they’ve had an experience where they know somebody personally now who has gone through it and maybe change their perspective a little bit,”

Stoecklein describes the burden hospitalizations put on families. When patients are transferred out of state, family members must travel several hours to visit. Even then, hospitals are limiting visitation. Stoecklein wants everyone to remember the potential consequences before engaging in high-risk activities. “It’s all about keeping each other healthy and making sure we’re doing whatever we can support our community and, and make sure we can you know keep enjoying the things that we can right now,” he says.

Stoecklein praised the efforts by county health officials and noted that students have been able to stay in school because of mitigation measures in the school district.

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