The Jackson County Health Department issued a letter to the Kansas City community Friday afternoon describing how dire the COVID-19 situation is in Kansas City.

As COVID-19 cases are rising, the city seeing more hospitalizations than ever before and with staffing issues in hospitals, health department officials say hospitals are in crisis mode:

Jackson County – the situation we are in is dire.

• Our COVID-19 weekly case rate has reached the highest it’s ever been (1203 cases per 100k people) — and is still rapidly rising. That’s more than double the record high from before this surge.

• Nearly every area hospital is close to or beyond capacity, and we are seeing more hospitalizations than ever before.

• This high volume is threatening standards of care and leading to longer wait times and decreased bed availability.

• High rates of infection and illness are also causing major disruptions in schools and other critical infrastructure areas like public safety.

Hospitals around the region are in crisis due to staffing issues and high COVID-19 hospitalization rates. We have reached a point where our health care facilities are canceling or moving important surgeries. Even non-COVID emergency patients are having to wait hours for care in the ER. In times of medical emergency, delays can be a matter of life or death for patients, and we are seeing this right now.

“The reality is we’re already rationing healthcare… we’re having to redistribute care to some; we’re having to defer surgeries. We’re canceling clinics. We’re not able to get everybody in.” – Dr. Steven Stites, Chief Medical Officer for University of Kansas Medical Center

Everyone in Jackson County needs reliable access to emergency medical care — and that means we all need to respond to the crisis evolving in front of us. Hospitals aren’t alone in being affected by this surge; long-term care facilities, schools, and emergency services are all facing disruptions.

Take precautions during this time of extremely high community transmission: wear a mask in public, maintain social distance when possible, avoid high-risk activities, and stay home when you are sick.

Above all, get vaccinated and boosted promptly. This is the single most important action you can take; the vast majority of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Vaccination dramatically lowers the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and death.

These simple actions make a huge difference for our whole community. 

Like many of you, our public health and health care workers are exhausted and desperate to move to a sense of normalcy beyond COVID. We cannot get there alone. We need everyone to do their part.

For more information —

CMO Conference: https://fb.watch/alyP28ppVx

MARC COVID-19 Dashboard: marc2.org/covidhub

JACOHD COVID-19 Dashboard: jacohd.org/data-dashboard

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