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Kansas health system declining to take patient transfers due to rapidly spreading COVID-19 delta variant

Coronavirus in Kansas

FILE – In this March 31, 2021, file photo, students wear masks as they wait in line for lunch at Wyandotte County High School in Kansas City, Kan. Johnson County District Judge David Hauber, in Kansas’ most populous county, has struck down as unconstitutional a state law requiring unusually speedy legal hearings for people challenging mask requirements and other COVID restrictions. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW & AP) — A major Kansas health system is declining to take patients from outside hospitals because it has too few open beds with cases of the faster-spreading COVID-19 delta variant surging.

Chief Medical Officer Steve Stites at the University of Kansas Health System said Wednesday that the space problem now the system’s main hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, is worse than it was last fall.

He said the hospital had open beds at the time because people were wearing masks and social distancing and doctors weren’t seeing other infections.

Stites said the health system is turning down between one and six patient transfers a day.

 “We are back in trouble again,” Stites said. “This has become a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Nearly 60% of Missouri residents are unvaccinated as are 57% of Kansas residents.

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