Wichita's Wesley Hospital seeing "alarming" COVID numbers

Officials from Wichita's Wesley Medical Center spoke before the Sedgwick County Commission on Wednesday morning about the increase of hospitalizations because of COVID-19.

The hospital is now caring for 150 COVID-19 patients and nearly three dozen more who are awaiting results and presumed to be positive.

“We are seeing one out 10 admissions to the hospital that have COVID-19 do not leave alive,” Bill Volach, Wesley president and CEO, told commissioners.

Volach added that more needs to be done as a community.

“We are not doing enough to slow the spread at this point.”
The hospital is looking to open additional beds, and to fly in nurses and doctors. Already, the hospital said beds are full, and dozens of patients are waiting for hours in the emergency room. Wesley is also expecting admissions for COVID-19 to further rise during the upcoming holidays.

“I’m very concerned that even the 200 number is not the top,” said Volach. “What if it is 300, what if it is 400 as we get into Christmas and further. I don’t know that. With the positivity rate and projections, we are showing, we can only project out about the next three weeks.”

The hospital is expecting a jump of least 60 more patients during the next month.

Wesley medical staff is suggesting that bars and large venues that hold weddings be closed, restaurants should go to take-out only, no club sports or sports gatherings should be held, and any other gathering should be 10 or fewer.

“Family gatherings should be your immediate family only,” said Dr. Lowell Ebersole, Wesley’s chief medical officer.

Commissioners did not take any action on the matter on Wednesday, but asked the CEO and doctor questions.

Currently, Sedgwick County has a health order in place through December that has bars closing at 11 p.m., and puts limits on restaurant capacity and mass gatherings.