The Democratic governor, in her most aggressive remarks on the virus in recent memory, joined physicians at Saint Luke’s South Hospital in Overland Park to emphasize that Kansas now stands at an inflection point. More cases risk overwhelming hospitals but vaccinations, mask wearing, and other precautions can again bring the spread under control.
“The campaign of misinformation is not limited to Facebook. There are people in positions of leadership, who hold influence, who have used COVID and politics to divide us,” Kelly said. “I want those who are weaponizing this misinformation to know your actions don’t hurt me. Your actions hurt your neighbors with pre-existing conditions … your actions hurt your local businesses … your actions are hurting our teachers, who have to risk their safety every day because their students are not wearing masks.”
“Over the past several weeks, COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations of Kansans of all ages have risen exponentially,” Kelly said. “It shouldn’t be like this, but COVID-19 infections are more rampant today than they were before the vaccine was available.”
The daily average of new hospitalizations was 165 on Wednesday. During the depths of the winter surge, the average reached 189, according to data from the Mid-America Regional Council.
“I do not know a hospital or a system in our entire region that is not in or near crisis related to staff, available beds, or both,” said Dr. Andrew Schlacter, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Saint Luke’s.