Texoma Medical Center is asking residents to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 as hospital resources begin to spread thin.
TMC Director of Infection Control and Emergency Management Donna Glenn said the hospital resources are being strained.
"We have not seen a surge of patients. We have enough capacity," Glenn said. "The recommendation is to put positive COVID patients in what is negative pressure. All hospitals have rooms that are made negative pressure. We have expanded our capacity by bringing in portable units so we have more negative pressure rooms. If we get more sick people we are able to care for more."
Glenn said much like other illnesses patients come to them from all over. She said for anyone who makes TMC their primary hospital, regardless if they have COVID-19 or another health condition they are still going there.
"We have a restricted visitation," Glenn said. "It is very limited. We don't want to bring the virus in on top of our patients. We are screening people coming in. We are screening vendors. We want to keep our patients as safe as possible. We're screening our own employees. We are doing temperature checks at the entrances. We have limited entrances open to manage the traffic."
She said their hospital is also seeing shortage of masks and other supplies. She said the issue is most of those products that are seeing shortages were made in China.
"COVID is a virus. With any virus the most important thing is to wash your hands," Glenn said. "It is something you can breathe in but you can also get it by touching your face or eyes. Everybody's immune system is different. Some people will get real sick others won't get sick. We don't want people who get it who don't feel sick to spread it around. They could spread it to someone who's immune system doesn't work as good. When you go into a crowd you expose someone who exposes someone else and it spreads."
She said flattening the curve is the only way to fight it. She said that means cutting the virus off from spreading. Viruses can't live without a host. She said we're the host. As it spreads if there is nobody else to infect it will die out. She said that's what worked already in China.
"If we want this to go away fast we have to get serious about social distancing," Glenn said. "At the hospital we want it to go away fast."
She said the biggest challenge facing the hospital is getting supplies like hand sanitizer. She said they have the sickest people and really need the products some people are hording.
"Everybody needs to buy what they need," Glenn said. "Don't take more than you need so everybody can get what they need. Practice social distancing and keep washing your hands."
The analogy she used to describe what flattening the curve means is a set of matches lined up like dominoes. She said one match will light the next one in the line so on and so forth. She said remove one match and it stops. She said if we spread out the pandemic ends.
She said the difference between this strain of coronavirus versus the common cold or seasonal flue is how unpredictable it is. She said it is stronger than the bugs health officials are used to dealing with. She said the flu and cold spread the same way. The virus that causes COVID-19 is stronger than normal. She said common colds are caused by a type of coronavirus. She said there are more viruses than people and that's what scientists are facing.
We have to be smarter, to separate ourselves so we don't transmit it to the next person to make them sick," Glenn said. "The social distancing is important. We have a lot of older people that live here. They are the ones with weaker immune systems. We used to think this virus only impacted older people. We're now seeing that isn't the case."
She said the other issue is because it is invisible nobody knows who has it. She said some people can carry it without showing any symptoms. Then they can spread it to people who don't have the immune system to fight it off.