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Sedgwick County health officer calls COVID surge a ‘crisis’

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Commission heard about the latest COVID-19 surge during Wednesday’s meeting.

Sedgwick County Deputy Manager Tim Kaufman discussed the vaccination rate and testing numbers. He went over the charts below.

Commissioners also talked about a plan for speeding up testing in the county. Many people are waiting hours for a test.

Doctor Garold Minns, Sedgwick County’s health officer, discussed how the surge is affecting Wichita and Sedgwick County. He called it a “crisis” and said hospitals across the state are at a “crisis level.”

“The number of cases of COVID has rapidly risen in the last week. The number of positive tests in Sedgwick County has gone up in the last week. The hospitals are at capacity from a sense of staffed beds. We have high numbers of staff who are off work because of illness or quarantine,” said Minns.

He added that hospital administrators are worried about the flu and what will happen in the future.

“Omicron is starting to come into the state, and we know omicron is more contagious. People need to quit hearing about that it is not as serious. Its higher contagion rate is leading to people that are critically ill,” added Minns.

Dr. Minns added that public health measures stressed since the COVID-19 pandemic are being ignored, including masking and physical distancing.

“So this is what we have now. Hospitals at crisis level, cases rising quickly,” Minns said. “Our vaccination rate has been pretty static.”

Several locations in Sedgwick County offer COVID-19 testing, click here for more. The Wichita State University Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory also offers testing. To find COVID-19 testing in Kansas, click here.

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