Oklahoma Hospital Association working to implement new surge plan

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) –  State leaders, including Gov. Kevin Stitt, unveiled a new COVID-19 hospital surge plan on Tuesday.

The Oklahoma Hospital Association told KFOR they had a phone call on Wednesday afternoon with hospitals across the state, explaining how the plan is going to work.

“The community spread is something that we can’t take for granted. We absolutely need citizens to take this seriously,” said Patti Davis with the Oklahoma Hospital Association.

Just one day after the state announced a new plan to handle COVID-19 in Oklahoma hospitals, Davis urged the community to wear masks and social distance.

“Our numbers are at an all-time high,” Davis said.

The plan has four tiers and is still based around eight regions. 

“Rather than starting from scratch, we chose to use the existing trauma regions that have been in place in Oklahoma for several decades,” Davis said.

Over the last month, hospitals have broken records with COVID-19 patients. As of Tuesday, 870 Oklahomans were in the hospital with COVID-19.

Currently, the entire state sits in tier one, which means less than 15 percent of hospitals’ current patients are sick with COVID-19.

But if the number of hospitalizations continues to climb, regions could move up to different tiers, all the way up to tier four with 40 percent of patients battling COVID-19 and all non-emergency surgeries halted.

“We’re setting percentage thresholds so that one particular hospital may not be overwhelmed,” Davis said.

Patients could be moved to hospitals out of their own region if necessary.

“On the backend, we’re gonna need the whole healthcare system working together,” Davis said. “We want to get the patient to the level of care that they need. Hopefully, that will always be within the region that they live to keep the patient close.”

But the Oklahoma Hospital Association is hoping the state will never go higher than tier one. They are now working with hospitals about how the new plan will be implemented.

“Yesterday was an announcement about how we’re going to move forward. It doesn’t mean we’re ready to go today. This is the framework for moving ahead. We’ve got a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time to make sure everyone understands their part,” Davis said.

We did speak with officials from a few metro hospital earlier in the day, like OU Health, who tell us they are not quite ready to announce their own plans.

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