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Kansas City may become ‘next New York’ amid COVID-19 surge

Some Kansas City-area hospitals are turning away ambulances because their beds are already filled with coronavirus patients — prompting one worried doctor to predict the area could become “the next New York.”

Eight metro hospitals and emergency departments had so many patients, they temporarily stopped accepting ambulances starting Wednesday night, The Kansas City Star reported.

Five of those facilities continued to divert patients who weren’t in critical need of care on Thursday. “We’re bursting at the seams in the metropolitan area, and really across the state and the region,” Marc Larsen, an emergency physician and operations director of Saint Luke’s Health System’s COVID Response Team, told the newspaper.

“I worry that if we don’t start taking this seriously as a metropolitan area, we’re going to be the next New York,” he said. “We’re going to be the next hot spot, because though we have a lot of hospitals, we have a lot of capacity in the area, we are filling up fast.”

By Saturday morning, Missouri had more than 160,000 confirmed virus cases, including more than 3,300 reported Thursday and more than 1,900 Friday, according to Worldometers. There were more than 122,000 active cases and 2,618 deaths in the state, including 27 Friday.

Neighboring Kansas added 1,805 cases Friday, bringing the total in the state past 72,000, with nearly 55,000 recovered. On Friday, 21 people died in the state, bringing its total to 859.

Average daily COVID-19 hospitalizations were up about 10 percent this week across the Kansas City region, ABC News reported. Larsen said Saint Luke’s hospitals were currently experiencing volumes they only see during peak flu season, and warned the situation could get a lot worse by winter.

The coronavirus is still surging in the Midwest, with record-breaking daily infection rates and intensive care unit bed shortages in several states.

Nationwide, nearly 72,000 new cases were reported Friday, and 928 died from COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began, nearly 8.3 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, including 5.4 million recovered and 223,730 people who died.


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