Oklahoma Hospitals Prepare For Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Wednesday, March 11th 2020, 7:50 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

More than 124,000 coronavirus cases worldwide have health officials calling COVID-19 a pandemic. 

There are only two cases here in Oklahoma, but hospitals here are preparing for the worst, as the CDC revises its guidelines to prepare for more patients. 

At OU Medical, system wide they have 86 negative airflow rooms and another 17 isolation rooms.

Integris said they have also set aside dozens of isolation rooms for coronavirus patients. But in the event that's not enough the CDC said COVID-19 patients can be put in private rooms with protections for hospital workers. 

“We can use surgical masks, droplet precautions for those patients that are not requiring an aerosol generating procedure,” said Linda Salinas, MD OU Medical Center Epidemiologist.

At Integris Baptist they are also telling staff to use personal protective equipment, like masks and gowns only when necessary. The CDC said most patients can now use the standard surgical masks.

“We have learned from other systems as the system is overwhelmed, the number of rooms that you have with that air handling system and the number of supplies that you have tends to be pretty taxed,” explained  Dr. David Chansolme an Infectious Disease specialist, Integris Baptist.

This as hospitals aim to not only protect patients but employees. Signs encourage those at risk to notify staff immediately and patients are screened for risk factors when they check in for any appointment.

“We’re doing strategic drills, fire drills, on the system to see how the system is working,” said Chansolme.

At risk patients are isolated and tested if necessary and in the less severe cases sent home.

“Most folks, most folks will actually do quite well with this, probably 80 percent of patients would be about to go home with self-isolation,” said Dr. Salinas.