Mayor Holt: Now is the time to ‘buckle down’ on COVID-19 precautions

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For weeks, health officials in Oklahoma City have been concerned about the growing number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

On Wednesday, data from Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 102,615 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.

There were 13 additional deaths caused by the virus, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 1,132.

Officials announced that there were 749 people hospitalized across Oklahoma with a confirmed or a presumptive case of COVID-19.

“As you know, the hospitals are starting to fill up, particularly in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. There are still beds available but ICU beds have been at a premium recently and there has been some movement of patients around the city to find open ICU beds. As you mentioned, there were 266 confirmed cases in an ICU bed. Those are obviously very, very sick patients and require quite specialized care. Since the start of the pandemic, a lot of people don’t recognize it, but if you take the entire pandemic, the 31 weeks that we’re in the pandemic, we’ve seen more than 3,000 cases per week in Oklahoma and we’ve seen 35 deaths every single week since this pandemic started. It’s really become a crisis across the state at this point,” Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Medical Chief COVID officer, told KFOR earlier this week.

Under the health department’s COVID-19 Alert System, officials say 70 of the state’s 77 counties are listed as a moderate risk for transmission of the virus.

“We’ve been talking about this for weeks now. We’ve been at escalated levels since about mid-September and the total hospitalizations for the city just continue to tick upward every day. We’re up to now on any given day, it’s been up to 260 in the metro area. You were quoting some state numbers a moment ago. But here in Oklahoma City, it’s about 260 people in the hospital right now and that’s of deep concern. That’s putting our health care system on the brink of being in more of a crisis situation. Obviously, with ICU’s earlier this week, we were kinda there. So it’s just a reminder to everybody, and I get it. It’s seven months into this and we’re all fatigued by this pandemic. But we need the reminder that this is still very much here. There are still, as I just said, hundreds of families in this community right now whose loved one is in the hospital. That’s not a mild case of COVID-19. That’s a very serious case of COVID-19. That is a very scary situation for any family to face and we all need to take our precautions. It is not that complicated how you avoid transmitting COVID-19. It is keeping your distance, washing your hands, and wearing your mask. And I recognize that we’ve all kinda gone through cycles in this deal where we relax our precautions. But it is time to buckle down and get back on it right now, and let’s get these numbers back down,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.

Earlier this week, Regional Medical Responses System Director Heather Yazdanipour said some patients are already being transferred to other parts of the state. She says that is happening because Oklahoma City hospitals are filling up.

“We can obviously be the recipients sometimes of patients from other parts of the state. So yeah to that extent, there are people within the sound of my voice right now that are your viewers that don’t live in Oklahoma City. They’re not immune from this virus either. I mean, we need everybody in the whole state to be careful and to take this seriously. That’s for sure because Oklahoma City often carries the load for other communities as well,” he said.

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