State Health Dept. Works To Alleviate Staff Shortages For Strained Oklahoma Hospitals

Thursday, September 9th 2021, 6:08 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper

TULSA, Oklahoma -

The Oklahoma State Health Department is working to alleviate staffing shortages at state hospitals, as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to put a strain on the system.

The state health department said nearly 45 percent of all Oklahomans are fully vaccinated right now and that number continues to increase.

Still though, more than 1,500 people are hospitalized right now across the state of Oklahoma due to COVID-19.

The state health department said so far in September, 98 percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.

Health officials said the large number of people in the hospital is putting a strain on the entire system.

Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said hospitals are telling him that beds are available, but they don't always have the nursing staff. To help, the state is giving hospitals access to contract agencies, like traveling nurses, and resources like reimbursement from FEMA.

Deputy Commissioner of Health Keith Reed said almost all hospitals are in the same situation.

"The challenge with that is that this is not an Oklahoma issue, this is a nationwide issue,” said Reed. “This is a situation where all states are experiencing this. The competition is for very specific types of talent."

Reed said the health department is also providing hospitals with additional PPE and ventilators.