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Local hospitals say they are prepared for a rise in COVID patients

Posted at 10:20 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 23:55:52-04

TULSA, Okla. — A lot of people want to know how the thousands of people attending events in Tulsa will stay safe. Today, city leaders highlighted the risks involved and the preparation behind a potential outbreak.

The worry of another outbreak sparked when it was announced the president would hold his rally at Tulsa’s BOK Center. In addressing the concern, one of Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum’s initial comments reads, “The key to maintaining safety is the capacity of our local health care system.” Local healthcare systems do back that statement, including Saint Francis, Hillcrest, and Ascension.

“We feel we’re in a good position to handle whatever the community might need,” said Ascension St. John Medical Center’s President, Mike McBride.

Just a few months ago, hospital representatives were not as confident. Personal protective equipment was hard to come by and they admitted they were not prepared to handle a major outbreak.

During a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bynum said, “There was real concern about that virus overwhelming our local healthcare system. Most of the hospitals I've visited now have over a month’s supply of protective equipment. They now have the protocols and systems in place to properly treat COVID-19 patients.”

The Tulsa County Health Department reports low hospital admissions and 37 total hospitalized COVID patients. 18 of them are in the Hillcrest HealthCare System. Its communications manager says they are prepared to accommodate an increase.

The executive director for Saint Francis Health System said in a statement, even during the state’s previous peak in cases, they still had ample capacity to meet the needs of the community and stand ready as they can be.

To reduce the likelihood of catching the coronavirus this weekend, the advice from the Tulsa Health Department executive director includes: “if you’re part of a vulnerable population, which includes those age 65 or older or immune compromised, please stay home,” said Dr. Bruce Dart, and do so if you are already sick or have been around anyone who is sick; try to keep distance from others, carry hand sanitizer, have a mask over the nose and mouth, and do not touch the face.

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