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OSDH reports, medical experts debunk Gov. Stitt's COVID hospitalizations comment

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 19:23:30-05

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a press conference this week, coronavirus hospitalizations have "remained pretty flat." Reports from the Oklahoma State Department of Health show a post-holiday surge in that time.

"It's a true number," Dr. George Monks, Oklahoma State Medical Association president, said. "It's a real phenomenon. This is something we're really struggling with."

The OSDH reports 1,884 current coronavirus hospitalizations across the state as of Thursday.

According to OSDH, every regional hospital is in surge three capacity protocol. COVID patients account for nearly one-third of hospital beds.

"Our hospitals are maxed out and it’s not just in one area, it’s really across the state," Dr. Monks said.

Dr. Monks' message a much different one from Gov. Stitt's on Tuesday.

"1,794 I believe was the hospital capacity," Gov. Stitt told Oklahoma City media. "That's stayed pretty flat the last couple of months or so."

OSDH recorded 1,902 COVID hospitalizations at the time of the governor's remarks.

In-hospital cases reported two months before, on November 12, 2020, was 1,279. A spike of 49 percent.

“The fact is, hospitalizations have increased over the last two months," Dr. Monks said. "We’re really struggling to find ways we can continue to expand capacity.”

Dr. Monks told 2 Works for You hospital staff are working extra shifts and long hours to care for overflow patients. He said they're clearing conference rooms to make more room for beds.

“There’s only a certain amount of things like that that we can do and we’re sort of backs against the wall at this point," Dr. Monks said.

OSDH has reported a slight decline in recent hospitalizations. Dr. Dale Bratzler, University of Oklahoma Chief COVID Officer, said it is due to a lack of reporting.

State medical experts fear a new strain of the virus could result in another wave of cases.

Gov. Stitt's office did not respond to a request for comment.

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