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Oklahoma's Medical Community Concerned About Hospital Capacity As Coronavirus Hospitalizations Rise

Mercy Health

Oklahoma’s coronavirus hospitalizations have again surpassed 600 daily. The state's medical community is again sounding concern for hospital capacity.

Throughout the spring and early summer, Oklahoma’s daily coronavirus hospitalizations lingered around 200. After increasing rapidly through July, they’ve now tripled.

Dr. Mary Clarke, the president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, noted that non-COVID demand for hospital space is already high.

"There are a lot of hospitals already in Oklahoma that are on divert, which means they don't have inpatient space to allow ambulances to come to the emergency room," said Dr. Clarke.

She’s a physician in Stillwater. The hospital there, during the surge this winter, converted conference space to a non-COVID wing to shore up space for COVID-19 patients. That was possible only under an emergency order by the governor.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced last week he didn’t plan to issue another order.

As cases continue to spike, Clarke and other leaders are calling for that order, and for Oklahomans to prepare for renewed strain on hospitals.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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