Hastings Hospital ICU full with COVID-19 patients
A Cherokee Nation graph indicates that all counties within the tribe’s boundaries are in the midst of an “uncontrolled virus transmission” of COVID-19. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Hastings Hospital intensive care unit “is full at this time” with COVID-19 patients, tribal officials said.
“We do contract with other facilities for our patients with COVID-19 that require hospitalization and there are limited beds available,” a CN Communications statement said.
In light of the now 4,300-plus confirmed cases within CN Health Services, the tribe is urging its citizens and communities “to wear masks and not gather in large groups especially as the holiday approaches. We want to protect our Cherokee elders and families from the spread of this virus and these measures can help ensure we have enough capacity to treat our patients.”
As of Nov. 13, the CN reported 4,322 confirmed cases. An estimated 1,000 cases are active.
Beginning Nov. 16, CN Health Services will suspend routine dental care for the next 30 days due to the recent “surge of COVID-19 cases in our communities,” officials said. Dental visits for emergencies will still be offered.
“Thank you for your understanding,” a CN statement said. “This also allows dental staff to serve in highly critical areas to help address COVID-19 needs.”
COVID-19 safety precautions at the CN include the expansion of testing capabilities within the workplace, screening upon entry at any of CN’s 150 government office locations, partitions at client interaction areas, requiring the use of masks and enhancing the existing cleaning and disinfecting protocols. The tribe has also made efforts to provide accessible COVID-19 testing to its citizens and communities by offering drive-through testing at all CN Health Services clinics.
Oklahoma officials reported 147,358 cases of COVID-19, 24,091 of them active, as of Nov. 13. Nationwide, the total was more than 10.5 million.
“Just wear the mask,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted to Twitter on Nov. 13. “Cover your mouth and nose. Stay 6 feet from others. Wash your hands. Stay home if you can. #COVID19 cases are rising fast. If we don’t act together and do what we can to slow the spread, thousands more could die.”
The national COVID-19 death toll was 243,000. The CDC predicts that number will rise to between 260,000 to 282,000 by Dec. 5.