KANSAS — As Kansas prepares to face a second wave of coronavirus cases, the state is already seeing an increase in hospitalizations.

According to KDHE, of 86 Kansas hospitals, only 33% of intensive care unit beds are available and that number continues to dwindle.

Health Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said last week that hospitalizations in Kansas are the highest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic and hospitals across Kansas and Missouri are seeing the same thing.

Dr. Steven Stites, University of Kansas Health System, said, “Covid patients in those hospitals was as high…was actually I think the highest we’ve had.”

While hospitalizations are the same as — or even greater than we saw at the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals are now better equipped to handle the virus. More beds and ventilators are available, and more is known about the virus. But, hospitals are still preparing for a surge of hospitalizations that puts them over capacity.

Cindy Samuelson, Kansas Hospital Association, said, “Hospitals large and small, on east, west, north and south parts of our state are preparing for the what ifs in regards to this pandemic.”

While hospitalizations are going up, the age of people hospitalized is actually going down. The University of Kansas Health System says they have patients as young as 15 currently hospitalized due to coronavirus — which also means the length of stay in the hospital is typically shorter, as young people are able to recover from the virus more quickly.

The Kansas Hospital Association says coronavirus patients take up a lot more room in hospitals because they have to be separated from others. So capacity can be reached much quicker than with other illnesses.