OKLAHOMA CITY - The four largest hospitals in Oklahoma City on Monday said they either have no intensive care bed space available or no space for COVID-19 patients as the delta variant-fueled surge in coronavirus cases has increased hospitalizations in the state and across the country.
Mercy, Integris and SSM Health said they had no ICU beds available and OU Health had none for COVID-19 patients in the state’s largest city. OU Health, the state’s only trauma center, must keep some ICU beds available for other critically ill or injured patients.
"Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City has no beds for adult inpatient care, including ICU beds," spokesperson Meredith Huggins said in a statement to FOX Television Stations Monday.
"We currently do not have any available ICU beds in our three SSM Health St. Anthony hospitals," spokesperson Sandra Payne said in a statement.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health, which reported 1,572 virus-related hospitalizations statewide Monday, including 422 in ICUs, stopped providing daily hospital bed availability data in May when Gov. Kevin Stitt ended a COVID-19 emergency declaration.
The department has said it will resume providing the data, but has not yet done so. Health department officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed told The Oklahoman on Friday that the agency intends to share data updates "in the coming weeks."
SSM Health spokesperson Kate Cunningham said the information provided by the hospitals is not in response to anything the state department has or has not provided.
"The only motive for acting together in this is because of regular requests for information from reporters, and we want to be transparent to the public," Cunningham said.
The health department said a recent survey of hospitals statewide found there were 946 ICU beds available in the state.
Health officials say the number of available beds can vary daily because they depend on staffing and that many nurses are leaving due to burnout and lucrative out-of-state temporary gigs.
On Wednesday, the Oklahoma City Council is expected to vote on whether to reinstitute a mask mandate that expired in April. The Tulsa City Council last week tabled a proposed mask mandate, voting instead to encourage residents to wear face coverings.
According to the state’s health department, more than 1.6 million Oklahomans are fully vaccinated as of Aug. 25.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.