Mayor Will Joyce has declared a State of Emergency for the City of Stillwater beginning Friday, Sept. 3, based on the medical health of the community. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is providing assistance with deployment of the Medical Reserve Corp and has issued a statewide call for healthcare volunteers.
Due to current high volume of patients and shortage of hospital staff, the Medical Reserve Corp would provide additional nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, and medical assistants throughout the weekend at minimum. They will help man overflow tents that will be constructed Friday morning outside of the Emergency Department and assist with increases of patient volume as space allows.
“With the upcoming holiday weekend, several large events and our current lack of available beds and staffing, we are extremely concerned about an additional surge of patients needing medical care.” said Shyla Eggers, Director of Public Relations at Stillwater Medical.
The City of Stillwater regularly hosts events and activities which have the potential to attract an influx of 40,000 visitors with the first event on Saturday, Sept. 4. The hospital already serves patients in a six-county area and capacity is full with Intensive Care Unit and medical beds. Currently, additional patients are holding in the emergency department until staffed beds are available.
Stillwater residents and visitors who may need hospital admission throughout the weekend may be temporarily diverted from SMC to nearby hospitals, including out-of-state facilities.
“It is critical that each of us become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks when possible. Our health professionals have incessantly warned us that we may reach the point when much-needed medical attention, COVID or non-COVID related, may not be available,” said Mayor Will Joyce. “We have now reached that critical threshold where our hospital no longer has available staffed beds and without each of us making necessary health changes, the trajectory is anticipated to continue declining.”
Per Resolution No. CC 2021-24, the City Council strongly encourages Stillwater residents to follow recent CDC guidance which includes recommendation for everyone to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission, even if they are fully vaccinated. The City Council also reminds residents that businesses and organizations can require more stringent mask rules and asks that residents respect their requirements. Stillwater Police Department will continue to respond to trespassing complaints for businesses or other entities that choose to require masks. The City Council strongly encourages residents age 12 and older to be vaccinated if they are medically able.
OSU will host vaccine clinics prior to home football games and will have their first clinic on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. For additional information regarding vaccination locations, the State of Emergency, and more, go to: Stillwater.org/covid-19.
At this time, the State of Emergency will be in place through Monday, Sept. 20, 2021.