Oklahoma hospitals continue to sound the alarm as the number of COVID-19 patients increases while the number of healthy nurses and doctors decreases.
Doctors at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital said hospitalizations of children are at an all-time high. At the same time, between 80 and 90 employees are in quarantine because of the virus.
“We’ve seen the number of children admitted with COVID increase with each variant,” said Dr. Donna Tyungu of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.
“Our adult staff who care for these patients have the virus just like the children have the virus,” said Dr. Cameron Mantor from OU Health. “And when they do, they’re unemployed and that causes significant problems.”
Nationwide, the numbers continue to rise. The three-day average for hospitalizations has risen to 1,703, including 69 children.
“We see patients with croup who are having trouble breathing and need treatment in our emergency room or in the hospital,” said Dr. Stephanie DeLeon of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. “We’re also still seeing patients admitted with respiratory symptoms, so COVID pneumonia or bronchitis in our younger patients, similar to previous versions, although we’re seeing many more of those patients.”
While treatments for COVID-19 have come a long way since the pandemic began, now with treatments for older and younger children, doctors said they are very scarce.
“As of today, at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, we no longer have these two products and are unsure when we will receive additional supplies of them,” DeLeon said.
In terms of staffing, administrators said the intensive care unit beds are 100 percent occupied and are also 100 percent occupied. Some beds in the basement will be emptied due to a lack of staff.
“At the Med surgery unit, we can only staff about 70 percent of our patient beds, so we have physical beds that are empty,” said Dr. mantor “That’s needed for patients, but we don’t have the nursing and ventilator staff to take care of these patients and that’s a major issue for us.”
Doctors said the majority of children admitted with COVID-19 will recover. However, they said COVID-19 is now one of the top 10 killers of children across the country.