OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt held a press conference on Thursday to provide an update on COVID-19 in Oklahoma, unveiling a new model to monitor the situation across the state.
“We are going to have plenty of runway in case we need to pull some of these levers,” Stitt said.
The governor and his team rolled out a promised tiered risk assessment model.
“This system will show Oklahomans how to deal with this virus on a prolonged basis,” Stitt said.
On the State Department of Health’s website, you will now find a color-coded system based on daily new cases per population.
The colors are labeled from green to red. So far the highest are McClain, Tulsa, Ottawa and McCurtain counties in orange.
Each color category is based on daily new cases per 100,000 population. The color-coded county map will be updated every Friday as part of the agency’s 11 a.m. Situation Media Advisory and will be based on the 7-day rolling average:
• Green: 0 < 1.43 daily new cases per 100,000 population
• Yellow: 43 < 14.39 daily new cases per 100,000 population
• Orange: > 14.39 daily new cases per 100,000 population
• Red: > 14.39 daily new cases per 100,000 plus one of four additional gates triggered
OSDH will deem a county as being in a high-risk phase if the county is reporting more than 14.39 daily new cases per 100,000 and one or more of the following four thresholds occur in the state within a given week:
• Statewide ICU threshold: Percent of ICU beds available <5% statewide
• Statewide Medical/Surgical threshold: Percent of medical surgery beds available <5% statewide
• Statewide Ventilator threshold: Percent of ventilators available <5% statewide
• Facility PPE threshold: Average days of PPE on hand and available < 5 days statewide
The State will work with local officials in red counties on a remediation plan.
The red phase is triggered when additionally assessing statewide health system capacity definitions, assumptions and plans in the Oklahoma Hospital Surge Planning Toolkit and with assessing numbers based on hospitals’ bed capacity at 100 percent. This status indicates statewide, systemic challenges and pressures on the healthcare system resulting from COVID-19.
“We aren’t going to stop and start our economy unless we see some catastrophic news with our healthcare authority,” Governor Stitt said.
But as numbers continue to spike, one of the metro’s top doctors says he’s worried we’re headed in the wrong direction.
“I think it’s irresponsible that we say it’s okay not to shut things down or require mask mandates or other things because we have plenty of hospital beds,” Dr. Dale Bratzler with OU Medicine said. “I’m sorry, you don’t want to be in one of those hospital beds.”
As of Thursday, 487 Oklahomans are in the hospital either with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a suspected one, known as a PUT, or Person Under Investigation.
“We had 560 peak in hospitilizations on March 30th,” Governor Stitt said.
But OU’s Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Dale Bratzler says the numbers now paint a different story.
“So when the governor and other people talk about, ‘Oh, back in March and April we had, you know, 500 people in the hospital,’ most of them were PUIs,” Dr. Bratzler said. “We were waiting on tests. Now we get the test back in a day. We have a lot more confirmed cases in the hospital now, and those are the people that we’re the most worried about.”
Stitt also added he has no plans of issuing a statewide mask mandate in Oklahoma.
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