As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state, hospitals are treating thousands of patients each day. Health care providers said with the recent spike, some of these facilities are strained.
Oklahoma health officials are urging everyone to take the precautions necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“It’s almost overwhelming,” said Dr. George Minks, with the Oklahoma State Medical Association. “Some health care workers, it’s almost enough to break them.”
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, hospitalizations are up 19% just in the last week, with currently over 1,200 COVID-19 patients hospitalized throughout the state.
“All of these metrics are really heading in the wrong direction and it’s a tough scene at the hospital,” said Monks. “We’re at or near capacity for COVID beds and ICU beds.”
When hospital beds are full, those with the Oklahoma State Medical Association said some hospitals have sent their patients outside the state to Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas. Monks also mentioned that patients have been waiting longer hours while in the emergency room.
“Things are really challenging right now,” said Monks. “This is real and we’re in a hospital crisis.”
Meanwhile, officials with OU Med said hospital beds are filing up every day. To help with the recent increase in patients, OU Children’s is now treating patients up to 25 years old and possibly up to 30 if needed.
“In hopes that we can relieve a little bit of the burden of what’s happening at our adult hospital across the street,” said Dr. Cameron Mantor, acting Chief Medical Officer with OU Health Hospitals.
Mantor said the recent safety protocols put in place by Governor Kevin Stitt are a step in the right direction. However, he believes it’s still up to the public to reduce the spread of this virus.
“Hospitals and doctors can’t stop the pandemic, the public, the spread of the disease in the communities is where we’re going to have to stop this pandemic,” said Mantor.
The governor and health care professionals stress we should all social distance, wash our hands frequently, and wear a mask while indoors.