Be Safe and Oh, Yeah, It’s Halloween

I took my car in to have some work done this morning, and my mechanic said he had been sick for a week with COVID. His brother, who also works there, said he had been on a ventilator for 14 days and had some pretty vivid hallucinations that continued after he was off the ventilator. It was scary. I wish I could be writing about Halloween and the fun things you can do, (by the way, there really are some fun and free things to do; just check out our calendar), but I’m not in the mood.

Img 2923I just got a media release from the Tulsa Health Department (THD) encouraging people to be extra vigilant right now. They warn of a “critical tipping point if behaviors do not change.”

“I have concerns about groups of people gathering indoors for prolonged lengths of time,” said THD Executive Director, Dr. Bruce Dart.  “We are losing the battle against COVID in Oklahoma, in both rural and metropolitan areas. As cases continue to rise, increases in hospitalizations and deaths always follow this type of surge.” said Dr. Dart.

So, if you are going out for Halloween fun, do it in groups of less than 10. It’s also best to be outside. And, of course, keep wearing those facemasks, stay six feet apart and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Teach your kids to do the same. For more information, go to the CDC website.

It’s sad that we have to curtail our usual Halloween and Thanksgiving gatherings, but think about the risks. Is it worth it if a family member gets COVID and ends up hospitalized or worse?

And it isn’t just COVID. Now we have to worry about colds and flu providing a double or triple threat. I hope everyone has gotten a flu shot.

I’ll want to share the quotes from area hospital administrators that were included in the THD press release, because when it comes to community health, they know best:

“Since September 1st, OSU Medical Center has dedicated over 25% of medical surgical, progressive care and ICU staffed inpatient beds to COVID patients. Because of recent surges, last week, OSUMC increased COVID inpatient capacity to over 30% of total staffed inpatient capacity as described previously. OSUMC continues to be committed to meet the needs of our fellow Oklahomans,” said OSUMC Interim Administrator Lynn Sund.

“The confluence of the cold and flu season with the pandemic could have a profound impact on the health care system in Oklahoma. We know we will have COVID patients in the health care system through the entire flu season, but whether there is a surge depends on how well we as a community work together to follow proven preventive steps. These include: masking, receiving an annual flu vaccination, practicing safe social distancing, following proper hand washing etiquette and staying home when experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and/or the flu. These are all best practice steps we can all take to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy,” said Hillcrest CEO Kevin Gross.

“While we remain prepared to care for our patients, the rising levels of COVID-19 cases across our state are very concerning. As a community, we must continue to take this crisis seriously and do what we can to slow the spread. We understand the community may be experiencing ‘pandemic fatigue,’ but as we head into the winter months we need everyone to stay vigilant. Please continue to wash your hands, watch your distance, wear masks while in public, and get your flu shot. As temperatures drop and the holidays approach, remember that indoor gatherings create a much greater risk for COVID-19 transmission.  Everyone in our community plays a crucial role in helping us all stay healthy and safe. Only through everyone’s cooperation can we curb the high number of cases we are experiencing and protect our neighbors and front-line workers.  We are all in this together,” said Ascension St. John CEO and Oklahoma Ministry Market Executive Jeffrey D. Nowlin, FACHE.

“Last week Saint Francis Health hit our peak of 129 patients at one time. In March, April and May, when people took to heart the simple recommendations to flatten the curve our highest census number was 55. We are more than double that now. Our ask is the same as it was then, it’s still a simple request…wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance. What we are seeing now isn’t sustainable. We’re headed in the wrong direction and the only way to course correct is if we start working together—again,” said Saint Francis Health System CEO Jake Henry Jr.

Before you gather, please consider these risk factors:

  • Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.
  • More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city or county).
  • Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
  • Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.

I know that reading this is not going to make anyone happy. It’s not humorous. It’s not cute or creative. It’s COVID. I want you to be safe and healthy, so that you will be reading TulsaKids for many, many months to come. We’ve had to pivot into more digital options as a business, and we understand the difficulties that all of you small business owners and workers are experiencing. But the most important thing is for you and your family to be safe and healthy.

Heed these final words from Dr. Dart:

“The warning signs are everywhere, please don’t pretend this isn’t real; be safe, be smart,” said Dr. Dart.  “We are entering a new and scary phase of COVID and we have to unite against this virus. The bottom line is that the more people an infected individual interacts with and the longer that interaction lasts, the greater the risk for spreading COVID-19 becomes.”

Eb Halloween Safety Pin

Categories: Editor’s Blog