COVID-19 is on the rise in Oklahoma. Our state has seen a 14 percent increase in COVID positive cases and a 26 percent increase is COVID hospitalizations just in the last week.
INTEGRIS Health has reported a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in their hospitals in Northeast Oklahoma.
INTEGRIS Grove hospitalist Samuel Ratermann, M.D., is on the frontlines treating patients with COVID. “We went for weeks without a single patient being hospitalized with COVID. Then in mid-June we saw an uptick and have been caring for hospitalized COVID patients each day since,” he said. “We are also seeing a much higher number of younger patients than we have in the past, and these patients are very ill.”
Current data is showing that about 28 percent of Oklahoman’s who test positive for COVID-19 end up being hospitalized.
Officials attribute the sudden uptick and the severity of the cases to the highly contagious Delta variant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified Delta as a variant of concern because it is spread more easily. Earlier in the week the Oklahoma state epidemiologist reported the Delta variant has been identified in testing samples from Northeast Oklahoma.
Justin Mitchell, D.O., a hospitalist at INTEGRIS Miami Hospital is concerned with the increase in hospitalization. “We currently have as many COVID patients in the hospital as we did at the height of the pandemic. Ottawa County has been hit hard by the Delta variant,” he said. “Unfortunately, we have a low rate of vaccination among our residents and these patients seem to be hit the hardest with the disease. We have seen a few patients hospitalized who were vaccinated, but they are generally doing much better than those who were not vaccinated.”
Physicians at INTEGRIS Health continue to encourage all people age 12 and older to get the vaccine.
The CDC has shared that the vaccine continues to be very effective against severe disease and death. They report that the majority of COVID deaths are individuals who were not vaccinated.