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‘We are flexing up and flexing back’: Local hospitals talk about ICU capacity

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Local hospitals have seen a rising number of COVID-19 cases over the last several weeks and an increase in ICU patients.

This second wave that we are dealing with now, its doubled and tripled than the first wave,” said Ascension Via Christi Medical ICU Manager, Jenifer Phelps. “We are having a lot more traffic coming through and the traffic we are having the patients are a lot sicker and they’re staying here a lot longer in the ICU.”

Sedgwick County Manager, Tom Stolz said the public hospital system in Wichita has a total of nearly 200 ICU beds. The county met with Wesley, Via Christi, the VA and McConnell Air Force base on Monday to discuss what they’re seeing and to get an understanding of how much space is available for COVID patients.

“They have the ability to flex and move with this virus and it ebbs and flows,” said Stolz. “Both hospitals have made it clear that they have the capacity to expand that and contract it based upon what the virus is doing, so I think they have good capacity as a system.”

Stolz said despite hospitals being prepared if cases continue to rise, local hospitals have voiced concerns.

“They clearly don’t like the trend and hopefully we can get it to stabilize or get it to go back down to the number that it was in early June, late May,” said Stolz.

Via Christi’s Medical ICU Manager, Jenifer Phelps said there’s still much more work that needs to be done to keep everyone in the community safe, so it’s important to continue washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing.

“Recognizing and truly understanding that fact that nobody is untouchable, that everybody is at risk,” said Phelps.

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