Oklahoma Sets COVID-19 Hospitalization Record Friday At 1,505 Patients

Friday, November 20th 2020, 9:15 pm

Oklahoma has set another record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, as hospitals are treating over 1,500 patients as of Friday night.

It’s the third new record set this week.

Tulsa County has about 1,800 staffed beds. Healthcare workers are concerned because lately there have been fewer than 20 ICU beds available throughout the county.

Of the record 1,505 COVID-19 patients across Oklahoma on Nov. 20, 350 of them are in the Tulsa region. Ascension St. John, Hillcrest HealthCare System, OSU Medical Center and Saint Francis Health System are the four healthcare systems in the Tulsa region.

Tulsa County has about 1,805 staffed beds, and healthcare workers said they are concerned because lately there have been fewer than 20 ICU beds available throughout the county.

OSU Medical Center Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Damon Baker, said he anticipates Tulsa will eventually reach Tier 3 of the state's four-tier surge plan.

"In the region 7 calls, we've noticed there's been an increase in the number of transfer requests from the outlying communities, not just for COVID-19 patients but for all medical, surgical and ICU-level,” said Baker.

Dr. Mousumi Som, OSU Medical Center Chief of Staff, said although its contract to be the state's surge hospital expired in September, the hospital is still designating a third of its beds to COVID-19 patients.

"In order to accommodate that, we've made adjustments to our medical surgical force to increase the number of COVID patients that we can actually accept,” explained Som.

Saint Francis Health System told News On 6 it hit its all-time high of 158 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Nov. 20. The system said it "continues to see concerning daily increases in COVID-19 inpatient admissions."

It's a similar situation for Hillcrest HealthCare System, with ICU bed capacity averaging between 95 and 98 percent for COVID and non-COVID patients. Hillcrest said the number of its COVID-positive patients has increased over the past two weeks, with 82 on Nov. 20.

Ascension St. John staff declined comment.

Health experts stress the importance of following CDC guidelines, especially with the upcoming holidays.