Lifestyle Health Midwestern Hospitals Are 'Bursting at the Seams' with COVID Patients as Cases Continue to Soar Overwhelmed hospitals in cities including Kansas City, Missouri, have had to turn away ambulances for lack of space By Julie Mazziotta Julie Mazziotta Twitter Julie Mazziotta is the Sports Editor at PEOPLE, covering everything from the NFL to tennis to Simone Biles and Tom Brady. She was previously an Associate Editor for the Health vertical for six years, and prior to joining PEOPLE worked at Health Magazine. When not covering professional athletes, Julie spends her time as a (very) amateur athlete, training for marathons, long bike trips and hikes. People Editorial Guidelines Published on October 16, 2020 11:49 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Midwestern hospitals are “bursting at the seams” with new COVID-19 patients as the number of new daily infections continues to soar in the region. Health care workers in several states, including Oklahoma, Missouri and North Dakota, are warning that their hospital systems are already overwhelmed as the states continually break their own records for the most new COVID-19 cases in one day. In Kansas City, Missouri, eight hospitals had to temporarily turn away ambulances of new patients on Wednesday night after they ran out of space, Marc Larsen, an emergency physician and director of St. Luke’s Health System’s COVID response team, told the Kansas City Star. At 1 p.m. the next day, five hospitals were still unable to admit patients unless they were having a stroke or heart attack, or suffering from a life-threatening injury. “We’re bursting at the seams in the metropolitan area, and really across the state and the region,” he said. ‘Small Household Gatherings’ Are Driving the Current Spike in U.S. COVID Cases, Says CDC Chief After averaging around 150 cases a day in April and May, COVID-19 infections in Missouri have soared. The state reported a record-breaking 3,717 new cases on Oct. 14. St. Luke’s Health System was treating around 15 COVID-19 patients a day in May and June — in contrast, they hit a record 100 patients earlier this week. “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 said. “We’re going to be the next hot spot, because though we have a lot of hospitals, we have a lot of capacity in the area, we are filling up fast.” RELATED VIDEO: Amanda Kloots, Widow of Nick Cordero, Calls Trump ‘Disgraceful’ for Minimizing Deadly Coronavirus In Oklahoma City, hospitals were completely out of intensive care unit beds on Tuesday morning, and the city’s medical response director said she had to send patients out of the region to get treated, KOCO News reported. Up north, in Wisconsin, health officials opened a field hospital at the Milwaukee state fairgrounds after hospitalizations nearly tripled in the last month. “We hoped this day wouldn’t come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different, more dire place today and our healthcare systems are beginning to become overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 cases,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. “This alternative care facility will take some of the pressure off our healthcare facilities while expanding the continuum of care for folks who have COVID-19.” Fauci Says Americans Should Consider Canceling Thanksgiving as COVID Cases Soar Along with the shortage of available beds, Wisconsin is dealing with staffing shortages, "largely due to staff members experiencing infection or exposure to the virus in their communities," State Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said, according to CBS News. Wisconsin hit a record-breaking 4,039 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday. Nationwide, COVID-19 cases are once again nearing the record-breaking levels last seen in July. On Thursday, there were 65,151 new infections in the U.S. and 703 deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 8,019,900 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 217,585 have died, according to The New York Times. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.