Rural hospitals brace for possible impact from new COVID-19 variant

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 4:49 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As the omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads worldwide, hospitals and healthcare workers in Kansas are preparing for what may lie ahead. This includes the many rural hospitals in the state.

Logan County Hospital EOO Aimee Zimmerman said there’s a difficult situation with the small northwest Kansas hospital seeing COVID patients, as well as flu cases.

She also said it appears COVID cases may have reached a peak.

“The last two weeks in northwest Kansas have been steady and it looks like we’re maybe plateauing at the top,” she said.

But this could change soon as the omicron variant creates concern for what it means for patient numbers and if it will affect immunity.

“I think the concern with the omicron is that people might be more likely to get re-infected,” Zimmerman said. “We’ve seen some discussion that maybe it’s not as severe, it’s a milder version, but I think it’s too new to know right now.”

She said the virus has mutated enough to where there are concerns for reinfections and that people won’t have the same immunity against it.

Zimmerman encourages those who live in Logan County who feel they might have COVID symptoms to get tested and treatment early on.

“What we’ve seen is treatment early really helps,” she said. “The people who have waited until they are severely ill, that’s when it’s, it’s hard to help people much at that point.”

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