State Confident In COVID-19 Response Page Amid Surge Due To Hospital Bed Availability


Friday, June 19th 2020, 10:22 pm
By: Barry Mangold


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Hospitalization numbers for COVID-19 in Oklahoma are on the rise, although at a much slower rate than the increase in new positive cases.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has said this week that the state is ready to continue reopening because of the expansion of testing and a low rate of COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 26% of ICU beds are available, as of Friday. Meanwhile, 27% of medical surgery beds and 65% of operating room beds are open.

The Oklahoma Hospital Association authored a surge plan toolkit for hospitals in the state in case of a surge.

LaWanna Holstead, the Vice President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, said many hospitals are comfortable with current capacities, but are carefully watching the increase in cases and hospitalizations.

“They’re certainly keeping their eye on the number and they’re certainly seeing increases in hospitalizations. Small (increases), but still increases from what they’ve had over the past multiple weeks,” Holstead said.

According to data from OSDH, hospitalizations have increased steadily since June 1. The number of new cases has increased at a sharper rate during that time.

To help maintain open beds, hospitals can take measures including early discharges for certain patients and cutting elective surgeries, according to the report.

When elective procedures were cut in April in response to a rise in cases, hospitals suffered significant revenue loss, Holstead said.

If hospital capacities exceed 90%, then facilities enter crisis care.

“That’s when you have to make decisions about resources. And we absolutely, absolutely never want to get to that point,” Holstead said.