Kansas City, Mo., hospitals turn away ambulances due to COVID-19 patient surge: report

Kansas City, Mo., hospitals turn away ambulances due to COVID-19 patient surge: report
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Some medical facilities in Kansas City, Mo., have turned away ambulances due to an influx of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Metro hospitals and emergency departments reported Wednesday night high enough volumes of patients that facilities temporarily stopped accepting ambulances, a leading physician at St. Luke's Health System told The Kansas City Star.

Marc Larsen, operations director of St. Luke's COVID-19 Response Team, said the influx in cases affected eight facilities Wednesday evening. The official did not specify the names of the other facilities.


"We're bursting at the seams in the metropolitan area, and really across the state and the region," said Larsen, who is also an emergency physician.

Two of the facilities belong to the St. Luke's system, a hospital spokesperson said.

St. Luke's Health System admitted more than 100 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, setting record numbers since the start of the pandemic. On Thursday, the system still averaged 90 virus patients across St. Luke's facilities.

The ambulance diversions continued into Thursday afternoon, as five facilities still remained overwhelmed by the surge in patients.

The diversions were prioritized for those who were not in the most critical need, allowing patients suffering from strokes, heart attacks and other serious injuries to receive urgent care.

The uptick of COVID-19 cases in Missouri continues to worsen as medical facilities in rural areas are reporting struggles under the pressure of incoming patient admissions.

Three hundred miles west of Kansas City, more than 50 employees at the Gove County Medical Center in Kansas have been infected by the virus.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state has recorded 10,910 cases in the past seven days, with 62 new fatalities. 

The data also shows the rate of tests coming back positive is at 18.3 percent. 

The World Health Organization indicates that a test positivity rate of 5 percent or lower is a sign COVID-19 is well-controlled in an area.