The Oklahoma State Department of Health said more than half of the population is fully vaccinated. Leaders in the medical field have said this is an important step in the fight against COVID-19.
Health experts finally told News on the 6th, like the common cold, increases in Covid-19 cases could be more seasonal; that is, they would increase during the winter and decrease during the summer.
Officials said an endemic would mean covid continues to exist, but at a level that does not pose a permanent risk to our healthcare system. As we move in the right direction, they said we are not there yet.
Oklahomans are ready to have a conversation without saying that 5-letter word, and while Covid is still an issue, the Tulsa Health Department has said we can’t forget how far we’ve come.
“It’s so amazing how much our processes have changed and improved from these mass vaccination sites where you can only really go to one place and there was an appointment, at just about any corner, any drugstore where you can just walk in and get a covid vaccine, ”said Madison Thomas, epidemiologist at THD.
Epidemiologist Madison Thomas still remembers December 2020.
“It was stressful but a lot of fun and I’m so happy I got to have this experience. In fact, I was able to be there from day one, like December 15, 2020. I was at my workstation. . that specific pod. So it was really cool to be a part of, ”Thomas said. “Seeing the first person get the shot I think we were all extremely emotional. At the time it seemed like a huge turning point. Like we were going to be able to go through this. It was a huge moment. One that I did. will never forget. “
In January 2021, Oklahoma saw its biggest increase in Covid cases and a spike in hospitalizations. The vaccine was only given to people over 65, at mass vaccination sites and in car clinics.
In March, people were hopeful as the CDC dropped its recommendation for masks for people who have been fully vaccinated.
In June, THD reported its smallest weekly increase in the number of cases.
“We felt really good and unfortunately the delta variant was introduced,” said Thomas.
In November 2021, cases were on the decline and 5 to 12 year olds were given the green light to be vaccinated.
“It’s really important. It really helps keep the kids in school,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the spread of Covid opens the door to the development of new variants that could be more transmissible and more serious.
“When you try to prevent something like that, it takes everyone,” Thomas said. “If everybody comes together and we decide, ‘like look, we really want to put this behind us, the people who are not vaccinated get the shot, if you get the shot get that booster, every time you go out, wear a mask, if you’re sick stay home, if you’re exposed stay home. All these things, all this layered approach. If we were to really unite and as a community do these things, I would help to dramatically slow the spread of covid in our region. “
Keith Reed of the Oklahoma State Department of Health said Omicron is more contagious than Delta with more breakthrough cases but milder symptoms.
He said an “endemic” could be in sight if we play our cards right.
“5 million doses later, we’re there; we have about 2 million Oklahomians who are fully vaccinated. The vast majority of our population aged 65 and over is fully vaccinated and a significant portion of them have received their booster, ”said Keith Reed, OSDH Acting Health Commissioner.