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Here we go again

By Todd Willert, CEO

Remember the end of May this year? Everyone was feeling pretty good. Hopeful anticipation was in the air. We had made it to the end of the school year with our children learning in person, restaurants and businesses were opening fully, restrictions were lifting, some were looking to a future when we could get rid of masks, and CHCS had just successfully celebrated our COVID-ized associate recognition. And the numbers looked good!

  • Systemwide, we were testing around 30-35 people weekly, with about 2-3 positives. Our positivity rate hovered around 6%, with some weeks at 0.
  • Pottawatomie County Public Health was reporting a maximum of around 12 active cases a day, and often fewer.
  • Hospitalizations were low. Stormont Vail in Topeka was reporting an average of 5 COVID-19 inpatients a day
  • The delta variant accounted for 1.3% of all U.S. cases.

But storm clouds were on the horizon. The pace of vaccination had slowed to a crawl. Worse yet, we knew that of those eligible for the vaccine, most who wanted it had received it. We also knew that the delta variant was moving inland and was highly contagious. Some wondered if we were abandoning precautions too quickly.

Flash forward to the beginning of August.

  • We’re now testing 75 to 86 people a week at CHCS, and positivity rates are as high as 30% (and we know the testing number is low)
  • Earlier in the week, Pottawatomie County reported 77 active cases and four hospitalizations. Yesterday, the county reported 67 active cases. Of those, 12 are fully or partially vaccinated, 39 are unvaccinated, and 16 are of unknown vaccination status.
  • Stormont Vail reported 35 COVID-19 inpatients yesterday, four of whom are vaccinated. The other 31 are unvaccinated.
  • The delta variant now accounts for 82% of all cases in the US.

As if these statistics weren’t troubling enough, we are now seeing delays in our ability to transfer patients because available critical care beds are in short supply. We had a critical patient wait more than 4 hours in our Emergency Room because we couldn’t find a suitable receiving facility. Hospitals throughout the state are reporting the same issue. One hospital even had to transfer a patient to Salt Lake City!

We are also seeing more COVID-related deaths. Two weeks ago, the hospitals in Springfield, Missouri, reported 27 COVID deaths. At the same time, a hospital in Osage Beach, Missouri, reported 22 deaths in a 23-day period.

We can end this with vaccination. With school starting soon, I fear this is going to get worse – much worse. There is little public support for renewed mask mandates, and people certainly do not support lockdowns. Something has to change. Increasing the vaccination rate is just the change we need.


What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines

The University of Kansas Health System Care Collaborative recently shared the following. Please read and consider how you can help by talking to family and friends or by getting the vaccine yourself. If you have questions, please talk to your healthcare provider rather than relying on the often poor information provided on social media.

  • Delta variant and others to come are showing increased infectivity (at least 2x) compared to previous coronavirus, and these variants cause more severe disease and higher mortality.
  • Those previously fully immunized are capable of developing disease after exposure, but severity of disease has been shown to be less, and ability to transfer disease to others is less in those who are vaccinated.
  • 90% of people currently hospitalized for COVID are those who are not immunized, and more than 98% of COVID deaths are those who are not immunized.
  • Vaccines are safe with few side effects. Side effects are mostly injection-site tenderness and occasional fever, muscle soreness, and fatigue, which are not uncommon with other vaccinations.
  • Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been made from technology developed over years of prior research.
  • Vaccination allows asymptotic exposures not to have to quarantine but instead to monitor for symptoms of illness.

Please contact one of our clinics if you’d like to receive the vaccine.

1 comment

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  • Kay Nocktonick | Aug 6th 2021 @ 11:06 AM

    What's the current situation at Eastridge nursing home.can we still visit my Mother..just wondering..thanks

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