Spike In COVID Cases Causes Strain On Oklahoma's Hospitals

Friday, January 14th 2022, 9:26 pm

With COVID infections surging, hospitals are expecting more patients soon, while most are overloaded with patients already.

With the Omicron wave, hospitals are reporting more of their own staff has fallen ill, making it even more difficult to care for patients.

Liz Michael, RN and the Chief Nursing Officer for Stillwater Medical Center, said SMC had 118 employees out sick Friday.

They also had 25 patients in the Emergency Department, which has room for only 15.

“We've added an additional 10 hall beds, plus we are triaging, seeing and prioritizing patients in the waiting room and actually doing some care in the waiting room if we can," said Michael.

Because of the shortage of employees and overflow of patients, the hospital declared an internal emergency that allows them to use staff across departments and move patients into other areas.

The hospital is licensed for 117 beds, but has only enough staff for 94 patients.

Michael said about 70-percent of their patients are unvaccinated, which is lower than usual.

She said the situation is causing health care workers to leave the profession, leaving fewer people available to care for a growing number of patients.

“I think a lot of people are tired of the pandemic, so they're not as nice, and they're making it a lot harder on the staff. They're more demanding, and angry, and won't comply with our masking policies and a lots of arguments, it just compounds the situation” said Michaels.


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