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OU Health Marks First Day 'In A Long Time' Without COVID Patients In ICUs Systemwide

OU Health
OU Health Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler in a Thursday video update.

A top doctor at OU Health said Thursday that their hospital system had no COVID-19 patients in their intensive care units one day this week.

"Which was the first time in a long time we had nobody in our ICUs with COVID-19," Dr. Dale Bratzler said in a video update. 

Bratzler also shared that after a winter season with an extremely low number of flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), diagnoses of the latter are on the upswing among children.

"It correlates with two things, we think: One is that kids did go back to school, at least temporarily, before the end of the school year, and that may have increased spread of RSV," Bratzler said. "And then second, mask mandates went away."

"RSV, parainfluenza, COVID-19, influenza -- they're all respiratory viruses that spread by breathing in air that came out of somebody else's mouth, and now we're starting to see a big uptick in the number of RSV cases in our children's hospital," Bratzler said.

"I think when it gets to flu season next year, a lot of us will have to think: Is it worth it to keep wearing a mask to prevent the spread of some of these diseases?" Bratzler said. 

Bratzler also said he had some concern about the relatively low rate of vaccinations among children between the ages of 12 and 17.

"I do have concerns that if we get to the fall and we're bringing students back together, those younger age groups, and those vaccination rates in those age groups remain quite low, we could see spread of the disease once again," Bratzler said.

Bratzler encouraged Oklahomans to seek out preventative and needed health care, saying that data indicate 2020 was the deadliest year in U.S. history, primarily due to individuals killed by COVID-19, but also because of cardiovascular disease and diabetes deaths from deferred treatment.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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