COVID-19 Update (08.03.2021)

Dear Community Partners,

Like other hospitals across the region, we have a growing concern about how the nursing shortage impacts our ability to care for our communities in the middle of a pandemic.

As a regional hospital that provides a layer of support to smaller critical access hospitals, we take care of patients transferred to us when they need a specialist or level of care that might not be available in their hometown. These patients, just like Topekans and those from surrounding counties, are primary in who we serve. We believe high quality care as close to home as possible is important for patients and their families.

The nursing shortage was in play prior to the pandemic’s onset in 2020. That shortage has been exacerbated by the pandemic as nurses leave the profession because of burn-out, earlier-than-planned retirements, and changed priorities. Others have been lured to other hospitals by sign-on bonuses or travel nurse opportunities. We are also experiencing daily staffing fluctuations because our nurses or their children become ill or have to quarantine because of the latest COVID-19 surge.

We are at a time of more demand for urgent, emergent and inpatient care – for those with COVID-19 illness and for other medical needs. Our clinics are also being stretched by the shortage of nurses.

The situation is taxing our ability to accept the transfer of patients. The number of skilled clinical staff, primarily nurses, dictates the number of patients that can be cared for safely in the hospital. While we now get calls to take a transfer patient from out of state, we often have patients in our Emergency Department who need hospital admission waiting for an inpatient bed.

This is our reality. We want the community to understand this as well because it impacts each of you. We make every attempt to take care of each patient to the best of our ability, but until we can get the pandemic under control, this is the situation.

We have implemented many initiatives to address these staffing shortages and have the capacity to care for the next patient, but there is no quick fix.

One hope is that the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant will be controlled through community efforts and higher vaccination rates. Meanwhile, it’s important our community gain clarity about where we are. This impacts all of us.

Here are today’s updates:

COVID-19 Scorecard
Here’s a look at today’s COVID-19 scorecard:

  • We have 32 inpatients who are COVID-19 positive today.
  • We have 66 COVID-19 positive patients in the outpatient Enhanced Primary Care program.
  • The percentage of patients testing positive for COVID-19 at Stormont Vail facilities the past seven days is 14.8%.
  • We have administered 86,978 vaccinations, which includes first and second doses of the vaccine.
  • All Kansans age 12 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are available through the Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy, 2252 S.W. 10th
  • To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment:
  • Walk-ins are welcome from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Appointments take approximately 30 minutes, including a 15-minute required observation.

Health Care Workers Vaccination Update

Health Care Workers who have completed series: 3,453*
Tested positive after dose #1: 48
Tested positive after series completion: 22

*Information available through 7/30/21. It does not include those who have received vaccine outside of Stormont Vail Health.

We together,
Robert Kenagy, MD

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