Oklahoma has run out of much-needed pediatric hospital beds statewide amid rising COVID-19 cases, a rise in single severe respiratory disease and nursing shortages.
Some children have been sent out of the state to other hospitals because of a lack of beds in Oklahoma.
“There have been a few pediatric patients who needed ICU beds when there were no beds here. All the other ICUs… in the state that could take care of those sick patients were also full, and we had to send them out of the state,” Dr. Cameron Mantor, Oklahoma Children’s Hospital chief medical officer told local Fox News. 25.
The Owasso Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine clinic issued a statement Wednesday warning that pediatric ICU beds were not available anywhere in the state — one of the hardest hit in the current coronavirus wave — and that some patients were being sent to Texas. A few state beds became available later in the day, the clinic noted.
The center stressed that the problem was not just the coronavirus and its dangerous new delta variant. The state is also experiencing an increase in respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV) in children. But the clinic strongly encouraged COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone over the age of 12 to ease the hospital rush.
“The point is, you can take a vaccine to prevent possible COVID hospitalization, but not for many other things,” the statement said on the clinic’s Facebook page. “We’re just asking everyone to do what they can to help a tense hospital situation… Please take the delta tension seriously.”
The delta variant of the virus seems to affect more children, and more significantly. The number of new COVID-19 cases the state reported in people 17 and younger rose to more than 1,400 this week — up from 820 last week.
The Oklahoma Department of Health reported a total of 1,777 new cases of COVID-19 across all ages on Friday, with both hospitalizations and deaths increasing.
“It’s the perfect storm and we can prevent this,” said Dr. Mary Clarke, head of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, on the overloaded hospitals.
She told Fox that her small Stillwater Medical Center had a total of five COVID-19 patients last Friday, 11 on Monday, 16 on Tuesday and 18 on Wednesday.
“We have high bed counts on top of elevated COVID, mainly delta. And that puts pressure on everyone,” she said.
Clarke said the only immediate action to be taken to prevent a plight from getting worse is to vaccinate people against COVID-19.
State doctors have complained about the lack of support from GOP government Kevin Stitt during the ongoing crisis. He was one of the last governors to implement COVID-19 security restrictions and one of the first to lift them this year. “We respect people’s rights … not to wear a mask,” Stitt said a year ago. “You just open a big can of worms.”
In a Facebook post on Friday, the Republican state party compared vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews.
“We’re pretty disappointed that we’re not on the same page, that we can’t come together and have the same voice,” Clarke said.
“We are quite disappointed that we are not on the same page.” – @OKMed
As #COVID19 cases rise, OR hospitals face a surge in pediatric cases amid staff shortages.
AND it doesn’t sound like they get much support from the state leadership @GovStitt @HealthyOklahoma👇 pic.twitter.com/146nopyd9d
— Emily Collins (@EmilyTVNews) July 29, 2021
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