OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With the rise in COVID, RSV and the flu, hospital capacity has become a concern all around the country, including Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is one of several states currently experiencing “very high” levels of flu activity, accord to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although public health officials said the surges for COVID and the flu may not reach the levels experienced back in 2021, cases and associated deaths have increased since Thanksgiving in all but a few states.
Subsequently, Oklahoma is one of several states currently experiencing “very high” levels of flu activity, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Local ER doctors told KFOR they’re turning to triage outside waiting rooms to accommodate the extra traffic, adding to renewed concerns that hospitals and other medical care facilities offering acute or emergency medical care may experience a strain during the holidays and winter months.
One chief concern at hospitals all across the country has been hospital bed capacity.
Even though recently reported data shows beds are still available, Dr. Bratzler said vaccinations for COVID and the flu still offer additional protection.
“While neither vaccine will guarantee that you get COVID or influenza both of them dramatically reduce your risk of being in the hospital,” he said, while adding that case counts for those illnesses could spike even more at Christmas.
“When you bring people together in close indoor quarters you increase the risk that you spread respiratory viruses,” he added.
The Emergency Medical Services Authority recently observed its highest ever response (447) and transport (347) volume for its Western Division (Oklahoma City) service area on December 9th.
The previous record for responses (441) was set on May 31, 2013, which was the date an EF-5 tornado struck west of Oklahoma City.
“Those coupled with a few other factors led EMSA to experience highest ever recorded response and transport in Oklahoma City [and] it doesn’t look like this call volume or this transfer volume is going to slow down anytime soon,” said Adam Paluka, Chief Public Affairs Officer for EMSA.
The Biden Administration recently announced a winter preparedness plan for COVID-19 that includes more free at-home tests and increasing vaccine booster shots.