Hospital CEO asks community to take COVID seriously

by Wayne Watts
 Kean Spellman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Grady Memorial Hospital in Chickasha addressed a letter to Friends in the Business World that was published by the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce regarding the recent uptick in the COVID-19 virus cases in Oklahoma and particularly in Grady County.
 Spellman said in his letter that the local hospital “has been overcome with a huge influx of very sick Covid patients. Recently we had a period of almost two weeks that every single inpatient here – had Covid, and we were getting worn out. We are now about 60% Covid inpatients.”.
 Also Spellman noted that the local hospital staff is now starting to test positive for the virus, however 90% of the employees have not caught the virus.
 He also said, “Our poor state is making National News, and the number of positive tests is exploding. Every ICU in the State is full. The Norman and OKC Emergency Rooms have patients waiting in the ER for an open bed in the ICU. Just yesterday (November 24) our positivity rate off all the patients we test in Chickasha is at a new record high, about 30% positivity.”
 He stated that the larger hospitals in Oklahoma City are constantly trying to transfer excess patients to smaller hospitals in the state, but locally there is no room for outside patients. Some patients elsewhere are being transferred out of state to medical faculties in Arkansas and Colorado.
 The other problem is that staff is being overworked and stress is high. There are no other nurses to hire and COVID cases continue to arrive seeking medical attention.
 Spellman is asking that “individual Moms and Dads, Sons and Daughters, and Business Owners, to take this disease seriously. Help us to slow down the spread.” He is asking that over the holiday season for everyone to keep up prevention efforts, sanitizing, masking, distancing.
 He thinks the vaccine is coming in January and that there “is light at the end of the tunnel” and to keep his staff in your prayers.
 Grady Memorial Hospital is a rural hospital, licensed to operate 49 acute care beds and fully accredited by CMS. It anchors a healthcare network that includes a 24-hour physician-staffed emergency department and specialized medical and surgical services, and employs a staff of more than 300 healthcare professionals.

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