Wichita leaders worry as hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Sedgwick County is making national news this week as our COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Right now, we have over 2,000 cases, a nearly 17% increase from Friday.
Local leaders are becoming frustrated as hospitals are filling up fast. “We have really lost a handle as far as containing this,” says Brandon Whipple, Wichita Mayor.
A recent report coming from MSNBC says Wichita is the newest hotspot for COVID-19. Whipple says he expected this because people weren’t taking proper precautions. “We just won’t have the capacity, not only for beds, but also staff to be able to handle COVID and also handle other folks who come to the hospital because they have other conditions.”
Whipple’s biggest concern surrounds the jump we might see stemming from fourth of July gatherings. “That’s what really scares me. Where are going to be in two weeks? Are we actually going to hit that point where our hospitals are at capacity?”
People here in the community have different opinions about how we should handle the quick rise in cases.
“I don’t have a mask on because I’m not afraid. We can’t walk in fear. If we do, we’re just done for,” says Arlon Bible, Wichita resident.
Tracy Criman works at a hospital in Wichita and he’s a survivor of COVID-19. “It’s very sad that people think that it’s all their personal choices or about fear or about, oh it’s just all a political stunt or it’s fake news or whatever. People don’t die from fake news.”
Other people say they will do what they’re told and wear face coverings, but they think the report from MSNBC is only meant to scare the public.
“I feel safe. I really feel safe. I think you should take precautions and do what they require, but I’m not afraid,” says Mindy Grady, Wichita resident.
Whipple says he’s not only an advocate for wearing masks, he’s an advocate for getting through this together. “This is our last shot at trying to contain this thing and hopefully people will follow the law and wear a mask when they’re in stores.”