Some Oklahoma Doctors Push For Gov. Stitt To Declare COVID-19 Emergency Again


Tuesday, July 27th 2021, 6:21 pm
By: Amy Slanchik


OKLAHOMA -

The Healthier Oklahoma Coalition is urging Governor Kevin Stitt to declare an emergency order for COVID-19, like he did earlier in the pandemic. 

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise, some doctors said now is the time to prepare. They want the flexibility to make room for more hospital patients if needed.  

The Healthier Oklahoma Coalition addressed the issue during a news conference Tuesday.  

"We are in agreement in our executive level that we would like to see an emergency order for multiple reasons down the road,” Oklahoma State Medical Association President Dr. Mary Clarke said.  

Dr. Clarke said an emergency order would give hospitals flexibility, as the Delta variant continues to cause COVID-19 numbers to spike. 

"A hospital cannot just randomly decide, 'I'm gonna make a hospital bed tomorrow out in the hallway.' That's not legal,” she said.  

Clarke said an emergency order would allow hospitals to expand by making space for beds in places like conference rooms or cafeterias, wherever the hospital deems safe.  

"Don't forget, lots of other people are coming to the hospital for other reasons besides COVID-19 and they also need space,” she said.  

Dr. Sam Ratermann with INTEGRIS Grove Hospital said he did not want to comment directly on the idea of an emergency order while he waits to see how it would impact his small hospital, but did have this to say:  

"What we need, in my opinion, is less roadblocks. Period. Of all sorts,” Dr. Ratermann said.  

The governor's office said his position has not changed since last week and he has no plans to declare an emergency.