While Dealing With Its Own Capacity Concerns, Lawton Is Also Taking Care Of COVID-19 Patient Overflow

Thursday, September 9th 2021, 5:34 pm
By: Tevis Hillis


Lawton is sitting at a new record Thursday morning with 66 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The new figure is pushing its limit and old record when there were 63 patients battling the virus back in January.

Now, health officials are asking for additional reinforcements.

"It's a different game we are playing," Comanche County Memorial Hospital chief medical officer Dr. Scott Michener said. "The nature of what we are in is, we cannot say, ‘No.’"

Tents set up outside the hospital are giving patients a place to wait to be served inside right now. Nurses are putting in the extra effort, serving three critical care patients at a time.

"If we grow and have to ask them to do more, we are asking them to do well above what they are customed to be doing,” Dr. Michener said.

Inside the tents outside are recliners, stretchers and beds to give people a place to wait. However, the tents are the only assistance the state has helped them with thus far.

"We had an ICU patient sit in our lobby for four hours. We physically have no place to put that person," Dr. Michener said.  

Typically, patients in southwest Oklahoma would be sent to metro hospitals. While they don't need overflow tents right now, what health care workers are concerned about potential challenges ahead.

"Right now, I think the Oklahoma City hospitals can take care of the volume of patients that we are seeing,” OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said. “But if we see another surge, I think it could be some challenges.”