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State reveals updated hospital surge plan

Posted at 5:44 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 18:44:47-04

Oklahoma’s metro areas are now more prepared should there be a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Governor Kevin Stitt and other state officials outlined their updated plan on Thursday.

OSU Medical Center is just one of several facilities that can aid hospitals if they become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Luckily, they haven’t needed them yet.

“It’s been sticking right around the 600s and for what we can see right now, it looks like it’s going to stay there,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye.

State officials are reporting Oklahoma’s average hospitalization rate is stable, for now.

“Today, we have 643 people in the hospital and for the past month, the number has hovered between 550 to 650,” Gov. Stitt said.

However, city and state leaders say they want to be prepared.

The state’s updated hospital surge plan addresses additional bed capability should it be needed.

Right now, Saint Francis hospital has 81 COVID patients.

The hospital said it’s hard to predict their capacity because non-COVID patients are discharged daily, allowing them to flex more beds if needed.

“We’ve developed specific COVID hospital units in order to reserve beds specifically for COVID patients above the normal capacity those hospitals have,” Dr. Frye said.

Tulsa and Oklahoma City account for most of the state's cases and hospitalizations. In total, there are now 340 additional beds available between the two metro areas. About 125 of those beds are at Tulsa's OSU Medical Center.

“Those hospitals in those areas will continue to care for COVID and non-COVID patients up to 100% of their staff capacity,” said Lt. Col. Matt Stacy with the Oklahoma National Guard, Governor’s Solution Task Force.

Although hospitalization levels remain stagnant, tracking new cases continues to be a challenge. The issue is delays in lab results.

“This is very unpredictable. We do have increase in cases in the state Oklahoma. We do have increase in hospitalizations in the state of Oklahoma. The good news is the percentage of the people who end up hospitalized has decrease over time,” Dr. Frye said.

The new available beds at the OSU Medical Center won’t be used right away. In fact, they will only be used once local hospitals are at full capacity.

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