Federal Emergency Declaration Allowing State Hospitals To Expand For COVID-19 Patients

Tuesday, August 3rd 2021, 6:10 pm
By: Erica Rankin

Hospital's hands were tied in making room for more patients for a while after Gov. Kevin Stitt ended the state's emergency declaration. That has now changed.

After a meeting on Monday with hospitals, they now have more freedom.

"The hospitalizations you see in the data that comes from the health department means that someone who is hospitalized is placed in a bed, in a room and is staying for more than 24 hours," Lawanna Halstead, R.N., and Vice President of Quality and Clinical Initiatives for the Oklahoma Hospital Association said.

Hospitals across Oklahoma City have noted they have seen an alarming increase in those being admitted.

"I do think capacity in some areas is pretty serious," Halstead said. "We have had to transfer some patients to other hospitals."

Halstead said they had a meeting Monday with Oklahoma State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye. They learned that because hospitals are still under a federal emergency, they have freedom to get creative when space is needed.

"He can allow hospitals to redesignate beds and create cohorts within their bed capacity," said Halstead.

If hospitals do redesignate a bed, there is a form they must fill out.

"It is stressful in our hospitals right now," Halstead said. "We respectfully ask all citizens to receive a vaccine so we can start to put a lid on this.'

Hospitals said a database is in the works to keep track of open beds in the state.