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Wichita hospitals taking in out-of-state COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) -With no hospital beds available in some surrounding states, the calls for help are coming into Wichita.

According to KDHE, the south central region of Kansas has about 33% of ICU beds available.

In Oklahoma and Texas, it’s a different story.

“We are filled to the brim,” said George Monks with the Oklahoma State Medical Association. “This is a statewide problem now. We are not fine.”

Oklahoma health officials said many patients are being transferred from one hospital to another and eventually sent to be treated elsewhere.

Wichita hospitals said they have been taking in some of those patients to treat.

“To the extent, we have those resources to help people out,” said Jim Howell, Sedgwick County commissioner. “I’m glad we’re able to do that, and it’s the right thing to do.”

While hospital officials said the number of people calling for a bed is increasing, Howell said he is worried about how it affects the county’s COVID-19 numbers.

“When we see an increase in our hospital numbers, understand the dashboard includes the total number of patients regardless of where they reside,” said Howell.

Local leaders said while they will continue helping, they are keeping a close eye on the impact the extra patients are having on doctors, nurses, and hospital staff as we near month eight of the pandemic.

“We’re actually adding to their burden by bringing people in from other places,” said Howell. “It’s certainly gotta be hard on them, but I know it’s the right thing to do.

KSN reached out to Ascension Via Christi and Wesley Medical Center for more in-depth interviews about the out-of-state patients and their impact, but neither hospital was available for an interview.

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