Stormont Vail Hospital seeing a “flattening” after number of patients rise in July

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Stormont Vail Hospital is seeing a “flattening” after a trend of new patients rising in July. This comes as hospitals across the country are seeing bed capacity rise closer to capacity.

Stormont Vail publishes its hospital capacity numbers daily. Tuesday the hospital was at 88% bed capacity, 67% ICU bed capacity and 71% negative air flow room capacity.

Dr. Salah Najm is the Vice President of Acute Care Services. He said they started seeing numbers rise at the end of June, eventually topping the numbers they saw in March.

“We saw a bigger number in the end of July, mid to end of July,” Najm said. “Now we’re kind of seeing kind of a flattening and maybe a trend down, but it’s hard to predict where the curve is going.”

Najm said the hospital evaluates things like bed capacity, equipment and staffing on a color scale from green to red.

“There were a few periods in time where we were almost operating in the red,” Najm said. “Especially when we had several of our staff members being exposed and in isolation or quarantined.”

When it comes to coronavirus cases, Stormont Vail has a negative air flow floor that they are using for these patients. This floor has 32 rooms and Najm said they have only ever been at half capacity at this floor. If cases were to rise, he said they do have 46 other negative air flow rooms they could use in other parts of the hospital.

The University of Kansas St. Francis Hospital saw a decline in hospital usage at the beginning of the pandemic. Nancy Burkhardt, Director of Marketing and Communications, said they have been down as much as 50% in some areas.

“Today, our Emergency Department volumes are still below where they would normally be, but our inpatient volumes have rebounded to near normal for this time of year,” Burkhardt said. ” Our surgery department has been very busy as our providers work to catch up on surgeries and procedures that were delayed in April and May.”

Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan is also not currently at risk of capacity. Senior Marketing Specialist Michelle Kennedy said this month they only had three coronavirus patients admitted at once.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates hospital bed capacity for states across the country. The CDC estimates that 49.5% of Kansas hospital beds are currently in use.

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