Consequently, our doctors, hospital administrators, the governor and state health department have been busy developing multiple levels of contingency plans.
Consequently, our doctors, hospital administrators, the governor and state health department have been busy developing multiple levels of contingency plans.

"We are what the virus lives on ... don't add yourself to the buffet line of the virus." - Dr. Cruzan, president of Integris Medical Group

Spurred to action by fear of a potential surging tsunami of Oklahoma COVID-19 cases, doctors and administrators at Oklahoma hospitals have been scrambling to develop contingency plans they hope they never have to use.

What happened in Italy and New York doesn't have to happen in Oklahoma, Dr. Jeff Cruzan and several other physicians at Five Oaks and Grady Memorial agreed. Oklahomans will determine the number of people who get sick and die by the way they act over the next several weeks, they said. We need to stay home, wear a mask when out in public and increase social distance efforts.

"We are what the virus lives on," said Dr. Cruzan, president of Integris Medical Group - of which Grady Memorial is clinically affiliated. "By going out and going to the stores, what you are essentially doing is adding yourself to the buffet line of the virus."

The solution is straight forward and relatively simple. Oklahomans in general...should not go out to stores and other places people congregate unless absolutely necessary. They should go alone and not make it a family outing. They should wear face coverings while still maintaining social distancing. And people should wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, the doctors said. Stay safe at home. This week and next are the critical weeks.

If all Oklahomans will do those things, metro area hospitals should have enough existing capacity to handle the surge expected to occur, doctors at several hospitals agreed. Those doctors just aren't confident that's how Oklahomans are going to behave.  

Consequently, our doctors, hospital administrators, the governor and state health department have been busy developing multiple levels of contingency plans. GMH has a contingency plan to open a COVID Unit, if necessary, to keep the virus out of the emergency department as much as possible Hospital executives are preparing for a potential surge that could outstrip the capacity of existing hospitals. We need everyone's help to get through April.