Local Doctors Ask Gov. Stitt To Declare Emergency Order


Wednesday, July 28th 2021, 5:23 am
By: Amy Slanchik, Jordan Dafnis


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Some local doctors are urging Governor Kevin Stitt to declare an emergency order as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state. 

Medical Professionals in the coalition said the emergency order would give hospitals flexibility as the Delta variant becomes the dominant strain across the country. 

"A hospital cannot just randomly decide, 'I'm going to make a hospital bed tomorrow out in the hallway.' that's not legal,” said Oklahoma State Medical Association President, Dr Mary Clarke. 

Dr. Clarke said with an emergency order in place, when hospitals get too crowded, they would be able to add beds in places like conference rooms or cafeterias. 

While many doctors are asking for the emergency order, Dr. Sam Ratermann with INTEGRIS Grove Hospital said he did not want to comment directly on the idea of an emergency order. 

"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 and he has no plans to declare an emergency. 

Doctors emphasized the need to get more Oklahomans vaccinated. They said if things don’t turn around soon, businesses could be impacted once again. 

"We already have a business in Stillwater that is closed for 10 days because they have no staff because they are all quarantined." 

Another hot topic, forced vaccinations for hospital staff. Dr. Ratermann is the president of the Oklahoma Academy of family physicians. He said he respects each worker’s choice about whether to get the vaccine, but his concern right now is losing crucial staff members because they became sick. 

"A bed is nothing more than a bed if you don't have the staff to take care of the patients in that bed. And so, we need our personnel to show up every day healthy and ready to work, not missing work because we just don't have room for that," said Dr. Ratermann. 

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