Tulsa’s largest hospital system reported a rising tide of COVID-19 patients needing critical care.
The concern is that increasing numbers could overwhelm the ability to care for everyone.
Saint Francis Hospital had 118 COVID-19 patients Tuesday morning, down slightly from 129 last week. That was a record high, and possibly a real concern, as they believe more cases are coming and so is the flu.
The CEO of Saint Francis, Jake Henry, said they cannot take many more COVID-19 patients because they don’t have the staff to care for them.
“Hospitalizations have spiked, and it appears we have a third slope,” Henry said. “Deaths from COVID-19 continue and the rural areas have begun to surge.”
Saint Francis has 80 COVID-19 patients in their main hospital on South Yale. Those are the patients requiring the highest level of care and most staff to care for them, but their other hospitals also have COVID-19 patients and the numbers are trending up.
In the spring, Saint Francis Health System had a peak of 55 patients, in July they hit 97, and in August 103. Last week, they had 129 patients.
“We're at a critical point, it's worse now than it has ever been in our community, just as it is in our nation,” Doctor Roger Gallup at Saint Francis said. “We need to get this virus under control before our healthcare system becomes strained to the point where we're out of options, out of beds and out of staff to handle the sick and injured who need our care.”
The hospital took out a newspaper ad to display the trend lines and plead for everyone to do their part to turn it around. They believe if everyone adopted simple precautions like mask wearing, the numbers would change.
“Our plea to our citizens in Tulsa and the eastern region of the state is the same as it has always been,” Henry said. “Wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance. We are headed in the wrong direction.”
Tulsa’s other hospitals also have COVID-19 patients and Tulsa’s designated surge hospital, OSU Medical Center, has 20 patients.