Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oklahoma has flu (but not bird flu)

Oklahoma has an influenza problem. It's not bird flu. It's just "ordinary" flu and this isn't a particularly bad flu season.

But for Oklahoma it's bad enough:
Flu season has made its way to northeast Oklahoma, often forcing hospitals to capacity.

Ched Wetz, vice president of Corporate Services at Muskogee Regional Medical Center, said MRMC has had to transfer some patients to Tulsa hospitals.


Optimal capacity at MRMC varies from 225 to 240, and full-time staff size is approximately 1,100, Wetz said.

All hospitals in the Muskogee area are experiencing high occupancy, Wetz said, but cooperate with each other to make sure patients receive care.

“There are also situations where we receive patients from hospitals in cities like Tahlequah, Eufaula, Stigler and Wagoner,” he said. “MRMC is a part of a larger macro system of health care providers.” (Muskogee Phoenix)
The Oklahoma Department of Health knows a pandemic will be a much bigger problem (excuse the understatement):
A pandemic influenza event most likely will overwhelm our health care system. It is essential that each county and region develop a local pandemic influenza management plan congruent to the state plan that includes strategies for patient triage, respiratory infection control, and alternate medical care facilities. (Oklahoma Pandemic Flu Plan, Fact Sheet [.pdf])
Yes, essential. Have they done it yet?