Stillwater Medical Center activated its surge plan Monday after a spike in COVID-19 patients.
SMC reported 15 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, an increase of seven over last week. SMC now has three COVID-19 patients in ICU, following a 5 p.m. update.
The increase in COVID-19 patients coincides with an increase of non-COVID-19 patients. According to SMC, out of a 55-bed capacity, 38 are in use. Out of seven ICU beds, all seven are in use.
“Our community members efforts help so much to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and we know this has been tremendously difficult for families, businesses and communities over the past six months. Today’s hospital report shows us there is still reason for strong concern,” Stillwater Medical CEO Denis Webber wrote in a statement to the News Press. “Our hospital team has spent countless hours over the last 6 months planning for a possible surge of patients. However, our hope was the plan would not need to be implemented.
“An increase in admissions has pushed us into our surge plan. We have expanded our COVID beds by converting more regular patient rooms to COVID patient rooms. The rise in hospital admissions, although not currently on the scale seen elsewhere in the country, is concerning. If the current rate of patient admissions continues or increases, we will take further measures to expand our surge capacities.”
The City of Stillwater and Oklahoma State University have previously been on record that hospitalizations could possibly trigger further COVID-19 restrictions, outside of regular triggers by active case counts. Stillwater and Payne County have been trending down in active case counts since a high of more than 400 in early September. As of Monday morning, there were 353 active cases in Payne County.
City of Stillwater Communications Director Sherry Fletcher told the News Press that any new triggers would be determined by proclamation. Fletcher said there currently aren’t any new restrictions for the City of Stillwater based on previous emergency proclamations.
"We would follow the proclamation,” Fletcher said. “If the Mayor was looking at the data and needed an adjustment, it would follow the proclamation. It would not be he alone, he would be in consultation with the hospital, county, state health departments and OSU. There would be multiple conversations held as he made that decision.”
Stillwater Medical has not said exactly how the surge plan effects the staff, but some members have responded on social media that it has “stretched” staffing. SMC is a regional hospital that takes patients well outside of county lines.
“We're proud to say due to our team's diligence and dedication to following our enhanced safety measures we've had no hospital acquired COVID infections,” Webber wrote. “We truly appreciate our community members stepping up and doing what Oklahoman’s do best, taking care of our neighbors. This is a very tough time for so many reasons and there are so many unknowns right now. We do know that we can help each other by masking up, watching your distance from others, avoiding large gatherings and washing your hands often.
“Ultimately, there is a role for everyone here. Now is the time to step up and do our best.”