Mercy Hospital Ada COVID-19 Triage

Prefabricated buildings sit in the driveway in front of the emergency room at Mercy Hospital Ada Tuesday. The structures are part of a COVID-19 triage center just outside their emergency department.

Oklahoma State Department of Health officials reported Tuesday the Pontotoc County COVID-19 case count has risen to nine. OSDH and local public health officials expect that number to climb, and say they are taking the necessary steps to prepare for an influx of new COVID-19 patients.

OSDH Regional Administrator Mendy Spohn said Tuesday three individuals remain hospitalized, three are recovering in isolation at home, and three have made complete recoveries from COVID-19 infections. All nine patients are between the ages of 40 and 75, four are female and five are male.

Tuesday's updated report from OSDH shows total confirmed cases in the state rose to 1,472, with 376 patients hospitalized and 67 reported deaths. Positive test results have been obtained in 61 of the state’s 77 counties.

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, nearby Garvin County had 12 confirmed cases, Pottawatomie County had 19 confirmed cases and Seminole County had three confirmed cases. There were no confirmed cases in Coal, Hughes, Johnston or Murray counties.

Mobile testing in Ada

Spohn said an OSDH mobile testing center is scheduled to be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Pontotoc Technology Center, 601 W. 33rd St. in Ada.

"We are glad to have the ability to host a testing site for Pontotoc county," Spohn said Tuesday. "We should have over 100 specimen collection kits to use for the event."

Spohn said OSDH expects to have test results back within 48 to 72 hours, and all test results will be provided via a telephone call from the health department.

"We ask people to leave their windows up when they approach our site, and please don't bring pets," Spohn said.

Mercy prepares for 'influx'

Mercy Hospital Ada officials said Tuesday they are preparing for "a possible influx of patients with more severe COVID-19 symptoms" by creating a new emergency department triage process.

Mercy Hospital Ada will open a triage area in front of the main emergency room entrance to screen all patients who present with any symptoms beginning Tuesday. A triage nurse will quickly assess the reason for a patient’s visit, and if COVID-19 is suspected, the patient will be isolated and routed to a designated area in the emergency department separate from other patients.

Mercy officials said adding this extra level of triage also protects patients who are visiting the ER for unrelated symptoms.

Mercy officials stressed that the hospital still has limited testing resources and encouraged patients with mild symptoms to stay home and call their primary care provider.

Contact Carl Lewis at 580-310-7520, or by email at

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Carl Lewis was the editor of The Ada News from 2018 to 2020.

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