OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While many people are focused on passing the peak of the omicron surge, officials at INTEGRIS Health say they have reached a new record.
“We are two years into this pandemic and today we broke a record, not a good record. We have more COVID positive patients in our hospitals in Oklahoma than we ever have,” said Julie Watson, M.D., INTEGRIS Health Chief Medical Officer.
On Jan. 24, INTEGRIS Health had 366 patients in their hospitals.
“We have 25 more patients holding in our ERs who have COVID without a bed to go to. We have doctors that are working for weeks on end. We have nurses that are taking extra shifts, respiratory therapists,” she said.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Oklahoma, doctors say they are waiting for an end in sight.
“We wanna be hopeful that maybe this peak is starting to slow, maybe we’re getting there in the next couple of weeks. But it’s been exhausting to go through it again,” Dr. Watson said.
Watson says most patients don’t think COVID is serious until they become very sick themselves.
“We’re here as doctors to tell you how to stay healthy and to help you when you’re ill. And that’s why we tell you to get vaccinated because we know even if you get COVID, if you’ve had a vaccine, you’re not likely to end up in our hospitals. And if you do, you will go home 90+ percent of the time. And that is not true of our unvaccinated patients. They don’t go home with about a 50% mortality rate in our ICUs,” she said.
What’s most shocking is that Watson says many of the patients who were severely ill were young.
“These are young patients. All they needed was a vaccine. It is that simple,” she said.