A Kansas radiology technician slept in an RV outside his hospital for over a week after coworkers got sick with COVID-19 and no one else was available to take X-rays

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  • A Kansas radiology technician slept in an RV parked in his hospital’s parking lot after his coworkers caught COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.
  • He was the only one able to run X-rays, and without the service, the ER was at risk of closing.
  • Hospitals all across the country are facing challenges as COVID-19 cases surge.
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A radiology technician at a Kansas hospital had to sleep in an RV in the parking lot for over a week after his coworkers got sick with COVID-19 last month, the Associated Press reported.

Eric Lewallen had to be on-site at Rush County Memorial Hospital in La Crosse, Kansas, in case anyone needed an X-ray since he was the only one left who would be able to do it, so he slept in the RV.

“To keep a critical access hospital open, you have to have X-ray and lab functioning,” Lewallen told the AP. “If one of those go down, you go on diversion and you lose your ER at that point. We don’t want that to happen, especially for the community.”

Hospitals across Kansas, alongside much of the US, are facing obstacles as they work to provide care during the latest surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, the COVID-19 Tracking Project reported 101,487 people were currently hospitalized with the novel coronavirus in the US.

So far, the US has recorded about 15 million COVID-19 infections with over 283,500 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The AP reported the situation has hit rural parts of the country especially hard. As cases surge, it leaves some of the smaller hospitals in these areas unable to send many patients to larger hospitals since they, too, are overburdened.

Other states have taken different approaches to ease hospital strain. In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Monday that starting at the end of the week, hospitals would have to “curtail” elective procedures to free up space.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf warned that hospitals could be overburdened as well.

However, Lisa Davis, the director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health told The Philadelphia Inquirer some of that burden could be eased if some patients were treated at home.

“I don’t in any way want to refute the governor,” she said. “The projections are that we will need all the hospital capacity in the state. But what we’re finding with our rural hospitals is that they are treating more COVID-19 patients at home so the really sick ones can be in the hospital.”