COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record high; doctors worry about the future of Oklahoma hospital system


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma’s COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a record high Thursday night at 749.

Another 1,200 cases were reported Thursday along with 10 deaths. Now, doctors say they are starting to worry, calling the issue of hospitalizations “alarming” and saying that “Oklahomans should be very concerned.”

“We’re still seeing consistent community spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma now,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler. The Chief COVID-19 officer for OU Med.

“All the metrics are heading in the wrong direction right now,” said Dr. George Monks with the Oklahoma State Medical Association. “The last three days we’ve set records on the most COVID patients we’ve had in the hospital system.”

Thursday night, Oklahoma hit a record high in hospitalizations at 749. This is what adds to Monks list of concerns, which he said includes the lack of ICU beds in hospitals, longer wait times for patients due to that issue and a shortage of staff.

“Those are real concerns that we have that, going into flu season, things are already tight in the hospital system,” Monks said.

However, Bratzler said this is no time to panic.

“Right now, we’re okay,” he said. “Oklahoma, in general, still has hospital bed capacity.”

Bratzler said that could change, though, with flu season in effect.

“If we were to see an early outbreak of influenza and it generated a lot of hospitalization’s, we could get our hospitals into trouble in a hurry,” Bratzler said. “It may mean that a loved one and it might not be a COVID patient, it might be a person who’s in the hospital for something more routine might get moved to another community.”

In Oklahoma right now, state officials and the national guard are working with hospitals to move to places with more capacity.

“By far the message I want to get out, the best thing we can do is slow the spread of the virus,” Bratzler said.

“Right now, our hospital system is really under a lot of strain,” Monks said.

Contracts with hospitals included in the plan were announced by Gov. Kevin Stitt in August and included 245 hospital beds in Oklahoma City, Norman and Tulsa. Those have expired but can be renewed.

Bratzler said that if you have a medical emergency to call 911. Even with hospital capacity as an issue right now, he said emergency rooms are ready to help you if you need help.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage


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