In Kansas, hospitals are converting spaces such as chapels and cafeterias for use by Covid-19 patients, said Cindy Samuelson, spokeswoman for the Kansas Hospital Association.
Stormont Vail Health in Topeka, Kansas, devoted an entire hospital floor to Covid-19 patients as their numbers swelled, hitting 90 on Wednesday. The hospital also converted two surgery waiting rooms for use by non-infected patients, spokesman Matt Lara said.
Kansas health chief Dr Lee Norman said a system that he likened to air traffic control for coronavirus patients is being put in place so nurses from rural hospitals can make a single call to find a larger hospital that can take their sickest patients.
In some cases, nurses and doctors in Kansas have been spending up to eight hours looking for a large hospital with an opening.
Maryland health officials similarly set up a centralised clearinghouse with information on available ICU beds so that hospitals need only make a single phone call. State authorities also issued an emergency order prohibiting most hospital visitors until further notice.
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