Latest COVID-19 Case Spike Is Leading To ‘Overwhelmed’ Hospitals In Oklahoma

Friday, January 14th 2022, 4:50 pm


The four major hospital systems here in Oklahoma City said they're all overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 patients coming through their doors.

Patients visiting SSM Health St. Anthony, OU Health, Mercy or Integris will all notice the same thing: long wait times. Hospitals are struggling to keep up with the demand with short staff.

“In our emergency room, at the doorway to our hospitals, you're talking about a continuously full waiting room with people waiting to get into the waiting room,” SSM Health St. Anthony vice president of medical affairs Dr. Kersey Winfree said.

The metro’s four major hospital systems are back to sharing their data with Oklahomans on, which is something they haven't had to do for months. As of Jan. 14, they have nearly 700 patients between the four systems and that has their staffs stretched then.

“It's like asking wounded soldiers to come out of the hospital and go back to the battlefield before they are even remotely healed,” Integris Health senior vice president and chief medical officer Dr. Julie Watson said. 

Staff isn't the only thing stretched thin. Resources used to care for COVID patients as well as patients needing help that don't have the virus are few.

Integris Health said they had to deny over 70 requests for patient transfers within the past 24 hours.

Dr. Watson said most of the issues hospitals are experiencing are avoidable.

“I can tell you truthfully the patients who are in our ICUs with COVID are unvaccinated, and had they been vaccinated, they would not need the ICU,” Dr. Watson said.

Across all four hospital systems, there are no open ICU beds, so hospital officials are asking the public to be more cautious as the surge continues.

“If you're sick come to our ERs, if you're not sick and you're looking for a test, don't come,” Dr. Watson said. “You are distracting our endangered resources from taking care of patients who need us desperately.”