INTEGRIS opens Portland Avenue hospital amid surge in COVID-19 patients

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center is opening its Portland Avenue hospital, formerly the Deaconess hospital building, Tuesday, amid a surge in COVID-19 patients pushing them toward reaching capacity.

“This is one of our more seriously ill patients on a bed to help them rotate,” said Dr. David Chansolme with INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center as he showed a COVID patient sitting in a rotating hospital bed. “Move their lungs around so that they can try and breathe better.”

Video taken by Chansolme and aired by MSNBC shows a first-hand look at what our state’s frontline fighters see every day.

“These patients are just enormously sick,” Kerri Bayer said, the chief nurse executive with INTEGRIS Health.

Bayer said INTEGRIS opened the Portland location after 858 new COVID-19 cases, a record 24 hour rise in the state. Their Portland location will specifically house COVID-19 patients.

”Just truly as a pop-off valve and some support to get some relief from the patients that we are seeing on our other INTEGRIS campuses,” Bayer said.

Integris released the following statement to KFOR Tuesday afternoon:

“As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rapidly increase across the state, the N.W. Expressway campus of INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center is experiencing capacity constraints. To continue caring for our patients with non-COVID-19 needs and the growing number of COVID-19 patients, we have decided to open our Portland campus.”


“Everyday we just continue to see more and more patients,” Bayer said.

The INTEGRIS statement also says the following:

“You’ll remember in April, the State chose INTEGRIS Baptist Portland as a component of its Level 2 Surge Plan. At the end of May, after it appeared Oklahoma would not be experiencing a significant surge, the State terminated that lease. The termination was effective as of June 30, 2020. Given that the course of COVID-19 could not be predicted, INTEGRIS Health provided the state with a “reactivation option” they could exercise anytime through the end of the year. While no new agreement has yet been reached with the state, INTEGRIS Health will be opening beds at the Portland campus later today to serve the COVID-19 patient needs.

We will continue discussing with the State ways we can work together to continue to meet the health needs of our community.”


According to Bayer, 95 COVID patients were in the entire INTEGRIS system as of Tuesday afternoon. However, she said a problem of staffing and trying to take care of non-COVID patients is also an issue.

“We kind of hit that capacity. We’re bringing both of those patient populations together,” she said.

The campus is expecting to staff up to about 40 beds, and they will add more if needed. Bayer added that the reopened campus is there due to reaching capacity, but also to keep the non-COVID patients safe.

“Even if you had 10 COVID patients intermingled with the other non-COVID, that puts a constraint of that facility,” Bayer said.

As more hospitals experience more patients coming through their doors, medical professionals like Bayer are urging individuals to be safe.

“No one’s immune to COVID, so yeah, absolutely I would say this is an emergency situation,” she said.

“Wear your masks,” a group of nurses yelled in Dr. Chansolme’s video. “Wear your masks, there you go,” Chansolme said at the end.

Bayer even called on elected officials to help fix the problem.

“I would be in strong support of mandatory masking,” she said.

The hospital said they are expecting to have the Portland Avenue location up and running by Wednesday.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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