Healthcare, education affected by skyrocketing COVID cases locally

·1 min read

As of Thursday, Mercy Ardmore had 42 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, said Daryle Voss, president of the facility. Of those, Voss said, approximately 75% are unvaccinated.

“Where we are now is similar to the height of the initial COVID wave last year,” Voss said. “And this is just the beginning of the Omicron variant.” Voss said that flu and cold illnesses are also on the rise over last year’s numbers, likely because handwashing and masking protocol have lapsed.

In addition to the influx of patients, not just at the hospital itself, but also at urgent and primary care clinics, Voss said staff shortages are also a rising concern. Congestion in clinics and inpatient care is leading to a decision to postpone elective surgery service next week.

“Everyone wants rapid tests and PCR,” Voss said. Many entities are offering testing, including the health department, the Chickasaw Nation, and private clinics. “The ER is not the place for that,” Voss said.

“It feels like all these places are really being challenged to get everybody tested because staff is out sick as well, not just from COVID, but from cold, flu and sinus issues.”

Those shortages are affecting not just healthcare, but also area schools. Dickson and Kingston schools closed late last week, citing staffing shortages and high numbers of missing students in the classroom. These closures come after the State Department of Education announced Oklahoma’s annual student count increased for the 2021-22 school year after plunging amid the coronavirus pandemic. Oklahoma SDE’s data shows 698,696 students enrolled in Pre-K through 12th grade, up from 694,113 in 2020-21.

Mercy Hospital Ardmore currently haas 42 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19.
Mercy Hospital Ardmore currently haas 42 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Ardmoreite: Healthcare, education affected by skyrocketing COVID cases locally

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting