Health-care workers in states across the United States are issuing dire warnings that an ongoing surge in coronavirus cases is pushing hospitals to the brink.

Eight hospitals and emergency departments in the Kansas City area in Missouri saw such high volumes of patients on Wednesday night that they had to temporarily stop accepting ambulances, Marc Larsen, an emergency physician overseeing the coronavirus response at St. Luke’s Health System, told the Kansas City Star on Thursday. Health-care facilities are “bursting at the seams” and “continually struggling with having adequate capacity for the surge that we are continually seeing and experiencing,” he said.

After treating an average of 15 patients a day in May and June, the St. Luke’s system has averaged roughly 85 patients being treated at any given day since the start of this month, Larsen told the Star. Earlier this week, it hit a record of 100.

“I worry that if we don’t start taking this seriously as a metropolitan area, we’re going to be the next New York,” Larsen told the Star.

At least a dozen states have reached record hospitalization levels in the past week, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Wisconsin opened a field hospital at the state fairgrounds this week to accommodate an influx of patients, while 98 percent of inpatient beds in Montana’s most populous county were full on Wednesday.

In North Dakota, doctors are urging Gov. Doug Burgum (R) to institute a statewide mask mandate as hospitals with a small number of intensive-care beds are increasingly strained.

“You might value personal rights and the Constitution, and so do I, but I also respect life,” Joan Connell, North Dakota’s field medical officer, told Forum News Service this week. “I don’t know why those can’t occur concurrently.”

The Washington Post

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