The State Department of Health on Thursday reported the seventh death in Stillwater related to COVID-19.
OSDH did not provide age and gender for Thursday’s fatalities. Earlier in the day, it sent a message to media that the daily report was delayed due to technical difficulties.
There were 10 other deaths across the state reported Thursday, four in Oklahoma County, and one each in Canadian, Cleveland, Craig, Delaware, Okfuskee and Stephens. Six men and five women were reported as the fatalities with nine being in the 65-and-older group, one 50-64 and one 36-49.
Stillwater has continued to trend down since coming off a September peak of active cases that numbered over 400. On Thursday, Stillwater had 175 active cases, according to OSDH.
Hospitalizations have been the main subject in the state’s mitigation efforts, with hospitals in Oklahoma City reporting capacity for ICU. Stillwater Medical Center on Thursday reported 6 of 7 ICU beds in use, with five of those being used by COVID-19 patients. SMC also reported having 14 COVID-19 patients in the regular COVID Unit, with four beds available.
In a news release Thursday, the Oklahoma Hospital Association noted that availability can also refer to staffing.
“Hospital ICU capacity is based on the number of staffed beds available. In other words, it doesn’t reflect the number of empty or occupied beds alone, rather the number of beds that the hospital has health care clinicians available to staff at a point in time,” the release reads. “To effectively manage hospital expenses, hospitals do not routinely staff empty beds on an ongoing basis. Capacity is tight at times year around even without a pandemic. As ICU needs arise, hospitals work to provide staff for more beds.”
In social media posts, SMC has noted that bed “types” can be fluid as rooms are converted from regular to COVID-19 rooms as needed, “and as equipment and care staff are available.” SMC also noted that their reported bed availability does not include maternal child health, rehab and emergency department beds.
OHA mentioned that one of the best ways to ensure that resources don’t get strained is if people continue to seek out regular health care.
“Regardless of hospital capacity and the current pandemic, it is important that Oklahomans do not delay needed health care,” the release states. “Hospitals across the state are safe and available to treat patients. Even when Oklahomans hear about low hospital capacity in their community, they should never hesitate to seek care when needed.”