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EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – A metro immediate care center was forced to close one of its clinics on Wednesday due to lack of staff as some tested positive for COVID-19.

“We have been kind of rolling staff around and eventually it kind of caught up with the number of folks that we have and the number of people who have been testing positive being out,” said Dr. Kevin Penwell, Immediate Care of OK President and Founder. “We could have been open but would have been really short-staffed. It just wasn’t safe. So, we took the staff that could have been there at the Edmond clinic and used them in other clinics and chose to close that clinic.”

Currently, there are seven Immediate Care clinics, including locations in OKC, Moore, and Norman.

The clinics recently scaled back hours, closing at 6 p.m. This is due to staff members testing positive for COVID-19, causing other employees to work longer hours.

“It’s really hit the medical providers and nurses this round much harder than it did previously,” Penwell said.

Penwell says the last time he was forced to close a clinic was back in 2009 because of the H1N1 flu.

He chalks up the current COVID-19 surge to the more transmissible omicron variant but also the time of year.

“And people getting together and then we often times typically see a surge again when kids and university students get back in the classrooms, get around. So, another opportunity for exposure there,” Penwell said.

Immediate Care of Oklahoma’s Edmond location closing for a day is just another reminder of how COVID is impacting healthcare providers.

On Wednesday, over 1,000 Oklahomans were reported in the hospital fighting COVID-19.

ICUs and ERs across the metro are stretched thin.

Penwell encourages patients to stay home if they don’t feel well.

“It’s just another reminder to folks just how fragile life is. Even with the omicron, if you survived other versions of COVID, it’s still taking lives,” Penwell said.

Immediate Care plans to open the Edmond location on Thursday. In the meantime, you can visit one of their other locations for care.

You can schedule COVID-19 testing on their website.