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Public Health Officials Say Emergency Order Is Needed For Hospitals To Cope With COVID Surge

KWGS News file photo
The risk of hospitalization remains highest for those 65 and over who are unvaccinated. According to Dr. David Kendrick of MyHealth Access Network, about 45% of people in that age group who test positive are now being hospitalized.

Updated July 28, 11 a.m.

Last week Governor Kevin Stitt announced he had no plans to issue a COVID emergency order, saying Oklahomans should be able to make their own choices.

The president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association Dr. Mary Clarke spoke about that idea today at a Healthier Oklahoma press conference. 

“This is a personal responsibility issue – I agree with that 100% - but I feel responsible for making sure my family, friends, and especially my patients are protected.”

Clarke said the state medical association is in agreement at the executive level that an emergency order is needed because it will allow hospitals to convert spaces like conference rooms into treatment areas for non-COVID patients that don’t need to be isolated.

“A lot of the hospital patients that are in the hospital right now are non-COVID type patients. There are other things too. Now we’re seeing an influx of COVID patients.”

Clarke said it’s illegal for hospitals to convert spaces without an exception from the governor.

The state department of health said in a video message yesterday statewide hospitalizations are currently at a manageable level but the numbers are moving in the wrong direction. As of July 26, OSDH reports a seven-day average case count of 1,159.

Correction: This story initially stated Oklahoma's seven-day average of new COVID cases on July 26 was 843.