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Oklahoma doctor sounds alarm over lack of ICU beds

Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 20:07:13-05

TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma doctor is sounding the alarm about the lack of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Carlos Cabrera Jr. has been working in the COVID unit at Saint Anthony hospital in Shawnee since the beginning of the pandemic.

He recently posted a picture of a note on Facebook showing the amount of available beds in hospitals across the state. Each hospital had a “zero” next to its name. Dr. Cabrera said hospitalization levels are worse now than they've ever been and he says the holiday surge is likely to blame.

“I realized after I made that list, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is bad.’ Nobody has any beds anywhere,” Dr. Cabrera said.

It’s a stark reminder of what frontline healthcare workers deal with on a daily basis.

“The entire state of Oklahoma has no beds, no ICU beds," Dr. Cabrera said.

Dr. Cabrera is now pleading with Oklahomans to be extra cautious as hospitals deal with the post Christmas surge. Additionally, hospitals are also bracing for another spike in hospitalizations from New Year's gatherings in just a few weeks.

“It could get to a point where the entire emergency department is completely full," he said.

The hospital is expecting overflow of patients. Administrators are pulling nurses from surgery and even labor and delivery to assist in the COVID unit. Additionally, the hospital is opening up non-medical rooms to care for additional patients.

“It’s real. It is going to get worse over the next two weeks," Dr. Cabrera said.

This comes as the Tulsa Health Department reports another record breaking positivity rate of 38.3% percent last week. That’s 10% higher than the previous month.

In a virtual news conference Wednesday, Tulsa Health Department's Dr. Bruce Dart explained hospitals are on the brink of collapse.

“No one can sustain this kind of pressure," Dr. Dart said. "We've got to start making better decisions so that we’re not putting ourselves at risk and end up in a hospital setting."

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