TULSA, Okla. — As the Delta variant becomes the dominant strain nationwide, Tulsa hospitals are seeing an increase of COVID-19 patients.
Health leaders are now calling this the pandemic of the unvaccinated.
“Hospitalizations are on the rise in fact in the last 10 days, our number of hospitalized patients has doubled,” Dr. Mark Frost, chief medical officer for St. Francis Health System said.
Dr. Frost said the overwhelming majority of the hospitalizations at St. Francis are patients who are not vaccinated. Dr. Frost said their hospital is now seeing over 100 COVID-19 cases on a daily basis. He said as of July 21, they have 12 patients are on ventilators for COVID-19. He said the spike is due to the Delta Variant, which is spreading rapidly and is highly contagious.
“Another warning to everyone is that if you are in public and you’re not masked and you’re not vaccinated in our community you are much more likely to get infected this year than you were last year because the Delta variant is so prominent and it is so much more contagious,” Dr. Frost said. “That is a great concern to those of us that work in healthcare, that people are not taking advantage of this opportunity to get vaccinated and essentially to save their lives and the lives of others."
Dr. Frost said the rise in cases is causing a strain for health systems across the country because beds are filling up quickly. He said every day they have to carefully look at their bed situation.
“Today, we were at full capacity at the start of the day so every day we typically start of that way with patients holding in the emergency room because all of our beds are full, as the day progresses we’re able to discharge patients and get them sent home," Dr. Frost said. "By late in the day early evening we have most of our patients in bed, but overnight we again end up with a backlog of patients waiting in the emergency room for a bed.”
Wednesday, the Tulsa Health Department released a statement urging everyone who is unvaccinated to get the vaccine. They also asked for anyone at high risk to continue wearing a face mask indoors and follow social distancing guidelines regardless of vaccination status.
“I was very pleased to hear that the Tulsa Health Department was making that recommendation, I would strongly encourage folks when you’re out in public to resume wearing a mask because of the prevalence rate right now of the disease in our community," Dr. Frost said.
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