INTEGRIS Health announced Tuesday it is reopening a facility for the purpose of handling COVID-19 patients as hospitalizations for the virus climb.
“As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rapidly increase across the state, the Northwest Expressway campus of INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center is experiencing capacity constraints,” the health care system said in a press release. “To continue caring for our patients with non-COVID-19 needs and the growing number of COVID-19 patients, we have decided to open our Portland (Ave.) campus.”
Forty beds are available at the Portland Ave. facilities and four patients were moved there on Tuesday. An INTEGRIS Health spokesperson said they will decide if more beds are needed in the future.
There are 95 COVID-19 patients across INTEGRIS facilities, 50 of which are at the N.W. Expressway campus.
The Portland Ave. campus will be staffed with the help of outside contractors, according to Kerri Bayer, the Chief Nursing Executive for INTEGRIS Health. Should hospitalizations continue to increase, as they have since early June, Bayer said finding doctors and nurses for each bed could be a challenge.
“Our constraint right now is not space, it’s these caregivers,” she said. “It’s these caregivers being able to take care of these patients.”
Hospitals across the state are taking notice of the increase in hospitalizations.
LaWanna Halstead, the Vice President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association said the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) is well-stocked, which was not the case when the virus first emerged earlier this year.
Hospital administrators have also been able to create contingency plans and adjustments to maximize space in recent weeks, Halstead said, which has helped them prepare for a surge in cases.
"There is, you know, definitely concern,” Halstead said. “But not necessarily panic on behalf of the hospitals right now."
Following health and safety guidelines like social distancing and wearing a face covering can help health care workers stay safe, according to Bayer.
“I know it’s hot outside, but wear your mask, wash your hands, maintain social distance. Because it makes a huge difference,” she said.