Holiday Weekend Causing Concern For Local Hospitals, Regardless Of Vaccination Status, With Lack Of ICU & COVID Beds

Friday, September 3rd 2021, 6:33 pm


Labor Day weekend is usually a busy time for emergency rooms, but due to COVID many are already filled. 

The holiday weekend is a time to hang out with loved ones, light up the grill, head to a lake, or hit the road. Health officials want to remind people that COVID doesn't take a break, and it's not a concern for just the unvaccinated.

"We all need our hospitals," said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.

COVID patients take up more and more metro area hospital beds.

"One quarter of all Oklahoma City metro hospitals patients today are there for COVID-19," said Holt in press conference earlier this week. 

"We know now with the Delta variant, you're about twice as likely to end up in a hospital infected with the Delta variant as you were with the original," said OU Medicine's Dr. Dale Bratzler in his weekly COVID-19 update Wednesday.

In the last two weeks in Oklahoma County, over 6,500 more people have become infected. More than 200 got sick enough to need hospital care. 

As of 12:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, all four of the metro's main hospitals have no ICU or COVID beds available.

"We don't live in a bubble. There are no walls around Oklahoma County and people go in and out of this county every day," said OCCHD's Phil Maytubby at a press conference Tuesday.

With all the time spent on a boat, grilling or just outdoors, Labor Day leaves increased risks for injuries as well. Not enough beds or staff isn't just a concern unvaccinated people need to worry about.

"Hospitalizations are really high at the same time that there's reduced capacity to take care of those patients," said Bratzler. 

"I better not break my arm. I better not have any sudden medical condition because there's no room at the inn," added Holt.

With big parties usually hand in hand with the three-day weekend, officials encourage people to mask up too.

"If you're on a boat on a lake it's probably not a high-risk atmosphere, but when you leave there and go to a bar and are with people who are not your family think about that," said Holt.

Masks inside is encouraged, regardless of vaccination status.