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Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce declares state of emergency; Mayor Breea Clark says Norman not in position to follow suit

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Breea Clark

Norman Mayor Breea Clark speaks at the Reaves Park Covid-19 memorial on March 13.

While Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce declared a State of Emergency for the city on Thursday, Norman Mayor Breea Clark said she does not currently have plans to declare one.

According to the proclamation, the Stillwater Medical Center is currently experiencing a high number of patients and a large number of emergency room patients requiring inpatient care. The center also does not have any staffed Intensive Care Units or medical beds available.

Clark said she and Joyce are in “constant communication” and knew of his plans to declare a state of emergency beforehand. She said the status of the Norman Regional Hospital is “not in the same shape” as the center.

As of Aug. 20, 70.4 percent of adult inpatient beds and 72.7 percent of ICU beds at Norman Regional are occupied. At the Stillwater Medical Center, 97.8 percent of adult inpatient beds and 100 percent of ICU beds are occupied.

“I respect his decision, and I think it’s the right one, and he has my full support,” Clark said. “However, Norman is not currently in that same situation. Should we ever get in that situation, like Mayor Joyce, I will do what is necessary to protect Norman residents.”

As of Sept. 3, Cleveland County is experiencing a daily average of 191 COVID-19 cases and Payne County is experiencing a daily average of 73 COVID-19 cases, according to The New York Times.

In a Thursday press release, Joyce announced the Oklahoma State Department of Health is deploying the Medical Reserve Corp and issued a statewide call for healthcare volunteers to assist with the “high volume of patients and shortage of hospital staff” at the center.

“It is critical that each of us become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks when possible. Our health professionals have incessantly warned us that we may reach the point when much-needed medical attention, COVID or non-COVID related, may not be available,” Joyce said in the release. “We have now reached that critical threshold where our hospital no longer has available staffed beds and without each of us making necessary health changes, the trajectory is anticipated to continue declining.”

senior news reporter

Alexia Aston is a journalism sophomore and senior news reporter at The Daily. She started at The Daily in the fall of 2020 as a news reporter, and is originally from Clinton, Oklahoma.

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