After nearly five months students are finally starting to move back to the campus of Oklahoma State amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
However the large influx of students from around the world could be problematic to the citizens of Stillwater and the people of OSU.
The influx of students is bound to cause a significant rise in positive cases of COVID-19 among the student and faculty, but is Stillwater Medical Center prepared for this possible outbreak?
The biggest issue with cities and towns dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is the constant lack of beds and supplies in local hospitals. The city of Stillwater has been keeping a close eye on Stillwater Medical Center and helping them stay prepared.
“From the city prospective, hospitalizations and the hospital’s ability to treat patients continues to be our No. 1 concern and will be the most pressing factor in terms of decisions on our end,” said Stillwater mayor Will Joyce.
The preparation for students to return to campus has been happening for months prior to the announcement of the Cowboy coming back plan. Stillwater medical center has been in constant contact with the City of Stillwater, Stillwater Public Schools and OSU to develop plans for safe return.
Stillwater Medical urges all students that are returning to campus take all precautions to stay safe from COVID-19, which includes wearing a mask and social distancing.
“Stillwater Medical is not the front line of this pandemic, that role belongs to the students and citizens of Stillwater,” said Shyla Eggers of Stillwater Medical Center. “Our role is to treat those who are affected with COVID19. We do have plans in place for expanded hospital bed capacity in the event it is needed. We continue to monitor the data daily and plan accordingly.”
Students began moving back to Stillwater in July to start their leases for the upcoming school year, and that original rise in population caused a spike in Stillwater.
“We don’t expect a spike for 10-14 days with the recent arrival of students,” Eggers said. “The city of Stillwater did see a spike in early July when many students moved into rental property for the upcoming school year. While the virus has not typically had a large percentage of hospitalizations for the 18-22 age group, we are watching those numbers closely because of the possibility of community spread. In the event that there is an increase in hospitalizations, Stillwater Medical is prepared to safely care for those patients.”
With the large number of students and professors on campus. Social distancing may be hard, but officials urge everyone to practice social distancing when out in public to protect citizens of Stillwater and other students.
“We highly encourage students to be vigilant and take the role to protect their friends and neighbors seriously by following the guidelines of the State Health Department and the CDC while on and off campus,” Eggers said.