Shawnee hospital in 'dire' situation due to COVID-19 variant Omicron surge

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

Just like many Oklahoma health care providers, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital-Shawnee is finding itself in a difficult situation once again as the latest COVID-19 variant Omicron surges through Oklahoma.

In a statement released by Shawnee's hospital, the facility reports it is currently at zero Intensive Care Unit capacity, while the Emergency Room has reached a high rate of patients since the holidays.

"In addition, we have and continue to experience the staffing challenges echoed throughout the region," the statement read. "This will continue to cause strains that will affect COVID and non-COVID patients alike."

There also has been a shift in the hospital's COVID patients who need to be hospitalized.

A nurse and REACT paramedics in the SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital-Shawnee Emergency Room.

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"Fewer than 10 percent of the vaccinated patients hospitalized have had the booster dose," the statement said. "We encourage all Oklahomans to get vaccinated, get the booster, watch our distance, practice hand hygiene and utilize all the proven techniques for mitigating this virus."

Those who are in need of a routine COVID test or other non-emergency care are encouraged to seek that through testing sites, urgent cares and other care delivery options.

"If you experience a medical emergency, we’re here for you – dial 911 or visit your nearest ER," the statement said.

Based on the latest COVID numbers reported in Tuesday's News-Star, cases are up across the state, with local county numbers also reflecting those increases.

Pottawatomie County reported 403 cases in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 139 cases. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 13,792 cases.

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Lincoln County reported 236 cases in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 57 cases. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 5,508 cases.

Seminole County reported 82 cases in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 29 cases. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 4,261 cases.

While they continue to work through this latest surge, Shawnee's hospital and medical facilities also continue to have COVID-19 visitor restrictions, protocols and a mask policy in place.

To promote the safety of patients, employees and the community, the facility has limited visitation, as noted on the hospital's website.

Patients can designate two care representatives (ages 16+) during their hospitalization; visiting hours for inpatients are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, however ICU, ER and surgery patients are allowed just one visitor. There are no visitors for patients in COVID-19 isolation and waiting rooms and lobby areas are closed to visitors.

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All entrants to the facility will be screened and masks must be worn in public areas as well as in the patient room while staff are present. If visitors are not compliant with masking policy, they will be asked to leave and not be permitted to return during patient's stay.

The hospital reports exceptions to their guidelines may be made for compassionate care, Joyful Beginnings and in other special circumstances.

Watch for updates.

SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Shawnee has been serving the health needs of Pottawatomie County and surrounding areas for more than 50 years.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect fewer than 10 percent of the vaccinated patients hospitalized have had the booster dose.