Wichita, Sedgwick County Authorities Worried About ICU Bed Shortage

Officials in the Wichita area worry that a continued resurgence of coronavirus cases will force hospitals in Kansas’ largest city to scramble for new intensive care unit beds to treat the seriously sick.

County Manager Tom Stolz told Sedgwick County Commissioners that – if current hospitalization trends and use of ICU beds for coronavirus patients continues into next week – it’s likely the situation will be deemed critical.

The county health department reported that eight of the 35 ICU beds available for coronavirus patients were open as of Monday.

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple tweeted Monday that Wichita hospitals could reach capacity within three weeks.

The county manager said area hospitals can add new intensive care unit beds on the fly, but that staffing is under pressure because employees have tested positive for the virus.

The pandemic has made an existing shortage of nurses in the Wichita area more serious, he told county commissioners.