OKC Mayor Holt, OCCHD Ask Residents To Get Vaccinated, Mask Up Amid Spike In COVID Hospitalizations


Tuesday, August 31st 2021, 5:28 pm
By: Brittany Toolis


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department are sounding the alarm as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise. 

Officials said 1 in 4 people in metro hospitals have the virus. 

Holt pleaded with Oklahomans to get vaccinated and to wear a mask when necessary, as the most recent surge in cases pushes local hospitals to the limit.

"This new surge, on top of an existing surge, is going to crush our hospitals, and we all need our hospitals," Holt said.

Tuesday's press conference with Holt and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department was the first they held since April. 

There, they stressed to residents that the virus quickly moves through unvaccinated populations, as the daily rolling average sits around 800, the second highest the county has seen over the duration of the pandemic.

"That is almost back to our all-time high of 1,000 new cases per day back over the winter holidays, and two days in the past week have surpassed 1,000," said Holt. "Our COVID-19 patients in Oklahoma City metro hospitals are now at 479, creeping ever closer to our city's all-time high."

The majority of the people hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated with 93%. Holt said the concern with full hospitals doesn't just come from not enough hospital beds available, and the unvaccinated shouldn't be the only ones worried.

"We could set up beds all day long but where are the doctors and nurses going to come from?" Holt said. "I better not break my arm. I better not have any sudden medical condition, because there's no room at the inn."

People are encouraged to mask up amid the spike in new infections.

"Just for the next few weeks to get us through this phase while we get everyone vaccinated," Holt said. 

Some positive news was shared at the conference. Oklahoma County's vaccination rate is higher than the national average with 73.2% of people 12 and older having had at least one shot and more than 60% are fully vaccinated. 

"Don't ever take for granted that a county in Oklahoma is higher than the national average in vaccinations. Somebody should get a Nobel Prize for that," said Holt.

A recent surge in vaccines is to thank, but those shots won't be at their full potency until October or November. Until then, officials ask people to be smart and mask up when in crowded indoor spaces.