State Pays Millions for COVID-19 Hospital Beds, But, to Officials’ Relief, They Stay Empty

Oklahoma Secretary of Health and Mental Health Jerome Loughridge discusses the state’s hospital surge plan at a news conference on April 10 at the Oklahoma State University Medical Center in Tulsa. (Photo from Oklahoma governor’s office) Courtesy Photo
Alarmed by warnings of hospital wards filling up as COVID-19 cases surged, Oklahoma officials last month agreed to contracts worth millions of dollars with hospitals in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to reserve bed capacity. Now, as the state embarks on the first phase of a reopening plan after six weeks of lockdown, those beds will likely be empty for now as the most dire warnings haven’t materialized…

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