OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While children are less likely to have severe COVID-19 symptoms compared to adults, the uptick in hospitalizations is stretching staff at the pediatric level.
They are trying to find ways to deal with the increasing number of patients and growing stress as the holidays near.
“We’re very concerned about what’s going to happen,” said Cameron Mantor, MD, Chief Medical Officer at OU Health Hospitals.
Mantor says the nursing situation at adult hospitals is “severely stressed.”
Young adults have been taken to the Children’s Hospital as leaders continually look at staffing.
“Are there nurses that can take care of more patients than they typically do, both in the ICU and on the Med Surge Units?” Mantor said.
One pediatrician discussed the stressed system on Facebook, pleading with Oklahomans to take precautions and saying she is “completely emotionally exhausted.”
Mantor says the risk of becoming infected in the hospital is very low, adding that OU Health Hospitals are ensuring every patient, pediatric included, is getting the care they need.
“We’re certainly not doing anything to put our patients at risk,” Mantor said.
He says very few pediatric COVID-19 patients have required care in the ICU. However, it’s the number of adults in hospitals across the state that is leading to a unified plea from all hospital systems.
“It’s you, it’s me, it’s the community that’s going to stop this virus,” Mantor said. “This pandemic will not go away. It’s not going to be fixed by the hospitals, it’s not going to be fixed by the doctors. It has to be us.”
Mantor says they know it is stressful for kids, so it’s fortunate parents are allowed to come in and stay with them at OU Children’s.
However, there is unified, ongoing discussion among all hospital systems about changing adult visitation policies.
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