Tulsa Health Officials Offer Warning In Latest COVID-19 Update

Saturday, August 7th 2021, 10:15 am
By: Emory Bryan

TULSA, Oklahoma -

More than 450 people were hospitalized Friday in Tulsa County with COVID-19, with more than 100 people in intensive care. Health officials worry the current surge is far from peaking because they're seeing infections and hospitalizations increase faster than ever before during the pandemic.

The Tulsa Health Department reports the average age of hospitalized patients is 43 years old.

Dr. Bruce Dart said because older people are mostly vaccinated, the virus is attacking younger and unvaccinated people. "We've heard way too many stories of people waiting to get vaccinated until they've lost a loved one, and these stories will break your heart," said Dart.

Dart is recommending people wear masks in public, regardless of vaccination status. "What will solve the threat is people on the fence about this getting vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved one and our community," said Bynum. "Covid has not subsided. The pandemic has not gone away" he said. "Our unvaccinated neighbors are all of a sudden exposed to a much more contagious variant of this virus and are all the more vulnerable because of its ability to spread so rapidly."

Dr. Anuj Malik, the Infectious Disease Medical Director at Ascension St. John said while his unvaccinated patients most often say they didn't believe the vaccine was proven, the science shows it is, after billions of doses given worldwide. "If any major side effects were going to emerge, we would have seen them," he said. "These two vaccines are between 85% and 90% effective in preventing infection and even more effective in preventing bad infection, preventing people from going into the hospital or dying."

Jeff Nowlin, the CEO of Ascension St. John, said "Like the other hospital systems, our numbers of COVID-19 patients continues to increase. Just in the last 3 weeks, we've seen a 250% increase in our COVID-19 admissions."

Tulsa Health and many pharmacies offer the vaccine, with appointments at www.vaccinate918.com

Dr. Guy Sneed, the Chief Medical Officer for Hillcrest Healthcare, said Hillcrest had 112 Covid patients, and one-third of them were in ICU. "Our capacities are constrained hour to hour, sometimes we only have a few beds in Tulsa to admit a patient from an ICU standpoint," said Sneed. Across all Tulsa hospitals, 17% of hospital space is being used for COVID-19 patients.