A state of emergency was declared in Stillwater as officials are trying to get ahead of a possible increase in patients during the busy holiday weekend.
Oklahoma State Department of Health overflow tents were set up Friday at Stillwater Medical Center.
The hospital said they are reaching capacity and crowds are expected Saturday in Stillwater for the Oklahoma State University home game. Kick-off and the Labor Day weekend are expected to draw thousands.
“It’s an emergency here at Stillwater Medical, and the declaration just recognizes that,” said Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce.
Oklahoma State Department of Health's emergency tents are ideal for four people but can hold eight patients, if necessary.
“We’re hopeful that this can kind of be a pop-off valve so that if we’re very full in the house then we can take care of the minor emergencies outside,” said Liz Michael, chief nursing officer at Stillwater Medical Center.
Stillwater Medical Center is transferring patients to other hospitals if they feel they can’t provide adequate care due to long stays by an increasing number of COVID patients.
"A COVID patient is going to need testing and then if they need to be admitted, sometimes it takes hours just to find a bed. Once you’re admitted, you’re there for 20 to 30 days,” she said.
She said hospital staff is tired as the Delta variant continues to take a heavy toll.
“With the state of our emergency room over the last few days, its been very scary,” Michael said.
The state of emergency will last until Sept. 20.
“This is what our situation is in Stillwater when it comes to medical care, and we need you to be aware of that, and we need you to take heed of it, and do what you can to not add to that burden,” said Joyce.