Dodge City hospital improving from near crisis level, concerns remain

Dodge City's hospital is slowly improving after operating at near a crisis level over the last several weeks.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 7:39 PM CST
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DODGE CITY, Kan. (KWCH) - Western Plains Medical Complex in Dodge City has been operating at near-crisis levels for several weeks. That status has finally changed, but optimism looking ahead is cautious.

In the past few weeks, COVID has been ramping back up in rural Kansas.

“We obviously are in a surge of COVID right now, so, I mean, the numbers can’t lie,” said Ford County Health Department Physician Advisor and Family Physician Dr. R.C. Trotter.

Data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDE) shows thousands of new cases reported in Ford County with peaks in new cases and the percent of positive tests. The influx of cases has impacted rural hospitals like Western Plains Medical Complex, near crisis levels from the end of December into the middle of January. As of Wednesday, Jan. 19, staff is returning and ICU space has opened up.

But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. We just are concerned because we are testing so many people, and about, I would guess 80 percent of ours are positive, and we are seeing some flu mixed in among it, so, it’s really impacting people,” Dr. Trotter said.

Another issue for Ford County is a lack of testing kits.

“There is a supply problem on testing, on the kits,” Dr. Trotter said. “It used to be I can just get any, as many as I wanted. We’re starting to count them.”

Dr. Trotter’s family practice now only has 270 COVID test kits available and is concerned about running out.

“If you just want to be tested because you were near somebody, wait and see if you get symptoms,” he said. “We really want to test people that have symptoms so we can decide whether they do or don’t go to work.”

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