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Metro hospitals fill up, test lines stretch as omicron hits Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After two weeks of focusing on the holiday season, Oklahomans are seeing full hospital beds and long lines in places to get tested for COVID-19 as cases continue to rise.

Experts say hospitals are full, but the COVID cases they are seeing are not as severe as at the peak of delta variation.

However, testing is now becoming a problem for emergency rooms and patients.

“The bed capacity is quite tight. It’s definitely a problem right now,” said Dr. Chad Smith, Medical Director of Mercy OKC.

Full hospitals and more than a mile-long test lines are signs that the metro is definitely seeing the impact of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

“It was wrapped around like this the other day so I was expecting that. I’m just trying to be safe and cautious because I’ve been around people who are sick,” says Chris Wooten of Edmond.

“I really can’t do anything during the holidays, but I have a cold and a cough, and with all that stuff floating around, you really don’t know,” says Kristi Marx of Edmond. .

Officials at a popular testing site at Crest Foods in Edmond said they are handling more than 500 tests a day.

“Since the holidays, we have had to wait more than 5 hours. It’s really hectic to be honest with you. Raymond Standtmiller for Health Center Labs says the number of positive cases is tripling.

Not all test sites were packed on Monday.

The lines at IMMY Labs in Norman are manageable. Traffic at Penn Square Mall is steady but not unreasonable. Patients quickly moved through the short line at the testing site next to Bricktown Ballpark.

But health officials remain worried.

“Our beds are full. Our ER is full. Kerri Bayer, Executive Director of Nursing at Integris Health, said:

Officials at Integris Health and Mercy OKC say emergency room testing is a problem. Their ER and ICU beds are full.

OU Health also told News 4 that it currently has 0 beds available.

Some health professionals say that already serious carer problems are getting bigger.

“Our employees are infected with the Omicron variant of COVID, so they cannot work. So that’s affecting us the most right now,” said Dr. Smith.

What about home tests?

They are still hard to find on store shelves.

We checked with the Oklahoma State Department of Health to see the status of the home tests that the Biden administration promised a few weeks ago. They told us they had yet to receive notification from the federal government about when these people would be sent.

“We want you to be taken care of if you feel sick. Go to the emergency department. We will fully take care of you. But if it’s just a snort and you want to confirm the illness, then we’d encourage you to go to some other facility outside of the emergency department,” Bayer said.

Both Mercy and Integris officials said the majority of their COVID patients were unvaccinated.

They say yes online information about testing, vaccination and care sites You can go to the doctor if the symptoms are mild.

https://kfor.com/news/local/hospitals-filling-testing-lines-lengthening-as-omicron-hits-oklahoma/ Metro hospitals fill up, test lines stretch as omicron hits Oklahoma

JACLYN DIAZ

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