Texoma hospitals ask communities to take COVID safety measures seriously as ICU beds fill up

Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 7:19 PM CST
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ARDMORE, Oklahoma (KXII) -Tuesday Oklahoma reported a new one-day record high in hospitalizations statewide. The Oklahoma State Department of Health estimated on Monday there were only 62 beds left for adult ICU patients, and none left at Mercy Ardmore.

Mercy Ardmore saw more cases than ever before in the last 30 days. The number of hospitalized COVID patients more than doubled.

Hospital President Daryle Voss said some people believe those in the hospital would be in there anyway but just happened to have COVID.

" That’s not the case.," Voss said. “COVID exasperates their symptoms to a point where they have to come to the hospital. And typically maybe they wouldn’t come to the hospital if they didn’t have COVID.”

The increase of patients has impacted local emergency medical services too.

“We’re seeing a longer turnaround time for us to become available for the next call," Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service Director of Operations Jeff Taylor said, citing increased sanitation as the reason why.

“We wipe down every piece of equipment that we used on that patient," Taylor said. "We wipe down our cot from top to bottom, from side to side. The walls are also scrubbed. Everything is scrubbed that you could possibly touch.”

Hospital transfers also increase the turnaround time.

“We are also transporting a lot of COVID patients to other hospitals for a higher level of care which is also taking our trucks out of service for hours in that case," Taylor said. Its not really new for us to go out of the area but when a hospital is unable to staff those beds for the COVID patients, then they will make arrangements to transport the patients to a hospital with ICU beds available."

Voss said that many transfers take a toll on the workers.

“There’s so many transfers going on right now back and forth between North Texas and Oklahoma City and other places, that they’re exhausted," Voss said.

Taylor said if you feel bad enough to go to the hospital, call 911. He said it’s important to tell the operator your symptoms.

“So we can take the necessary precautions to limit our staff exposure," Taylor said.

Mercy Ada says the COVID positivity rate of ER patients has increased from 15% to nearly 50% percent in the past week., straining staff and resources there as well.

Hospital officials say you can help reduce spread of the virus by about eighty percent by wearing a mask.

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