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OSU Medical Center Could Stand Ready for COVID-19 Surge Through the Fall

Oklahoma State University Medical Center

Oklahoma State University Medical Center in Tulsa could be under contract as the area’s COVID-19 surge hospital through the end of June, but hospital officials are looking at keeping it ready even longer.

OSU Medical Trustee Jay Helm said on Wednesday the space should reamain ready to take in COVID-19 patients through the fall.

"Everything you see is that we’ll have a resurgence coming. And so, we’ve kind of committed that we would be available. It’s not part of the contract. We’d probably have to have a new contract," Helm said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished work this weekend to create more negative pressure rooms at OSU Medical Center. The retrofits are part of the hospital’s agreement with the state.

"And so, we are in the process of attempting to coordinate with FEMA any potential equipment needs and things along those lines if we get brought online and that plan gets executed," said OSU Center for Health Sciences Vice President of Administration and Finance Eric Polak.

The state is to pay OSU Medical Center $375,000 a day to keep 125 beds available for COVID-19 patients, according to Oklahoma Watch. Trustees said no payments have come in yet. The contract essentially runs for 30-day terms from April 15 through June at the latest.

So far, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Oklahoma have not jumped as some models predicted.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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