OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As state leaders work to reopen non-essential businesses across the state, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health are issuing guidelines for elective surgery centers and hospitals.
Beginning April 24, any surgical procedure for conditions that are not life-threatening can be performed in Oklahoma.
“Oklahomans across the state have delayed critical procedures to allow our medical system to prepare for new demands as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner of Health Gary Cox. “As we begin to reintegrate core health care services, OSDH is asking elective surgery centers and hospitals to establish partnerships with private labs to process COVID-19 tests on all patients prior to performing a procedure and to assist us in increasing overall COVID-19 testing across the state. Oklahoma will continue to expand and prioritize its COVID-19 testing resources toward patients hospitalized for COVID-19, for front line essential employees and for the general public with symptoms of COVID-19.”
Although state leaders say surgeries can resume, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say there are some guidelines that should be followed.
Health officials say elective surgery centers and hospitals must administer COVID-19 tests to all patients prior to surgery.
Once the swab is administered, it will be sent to a private lab for testing and results should be available within 48 hours of the scheduled procedure.
If a patient has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, they will need to undergo two coronavirus tests that come back negative before an operation is performed.
When it comes to personal protective equipment, non-medical support staff members at elective surgery centers and hospitals should wear cloth face masks in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Officials say the centers and hospitals will be responsible for getting their own PPE for all employees. At this point, the state’s Strategic National Stockpile supply will be prioritized to healthcare professionals who are working directly with COVID-19 patients.
All minor medical procedures and non-emergency dental procedures such as outpatient surgeries or procedures may resume May 1.