Stormont Vail Health making changes due to staffing shortage, rise in Omicron

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Stormont Vail Health is taking a step back from accepting adult patient transfers and nonessential surgeries. This comes as the hospital is dealing with staff shortages and a rise in cases.

President and CEO Dr. Robert Kenagy said the hospital is in a different place than it was this time last year.

“A year ago we were able to take care of over 100 inpatients and survive that and our patients did well,” Kenagy said. “The difficulty of the work involved and the long-term stress and strain to our workforce. This is a phenomenon seen across all of healthcare.”

As of Wednesday, the hospital has only 55 positive cases, but fewer bedside personnel. Currently, 94% of these cases are unvaccinated or they had their vaccine/booster more than six months ago.

Dr. Clifton Jones said the hospital is also seeing signs of the Omicron variant. He’s encouraging people to get vaccinated and listen to public health officials.

“Understand there are people that have every ounce of their energy is dedicated to protecting the public health and to put those individuals, those professionals in a position where they aren’t listened to, they are disrespected, they are threatened, in my mind is heartbreaking,” said Jones.

For those worried about holidays this weekend, Dr. Kenagy said he is not suggesting people cancel their plans. However, he said people should wash their hands, wear masks and socially distance themselves.

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