OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced on Monday more than 11,000 negative COVID-19 tests were processed by private labs dating back to early February.
“It’s frustrating for us because if we had known that the testing was available, I think we would have been testing people earlier,” Dr. Mindy Cail told News 4.
Cail, along with many other healthcare professionals, learned that testing for COVID-19 in Oklahoma started back in February when a press release went out Monday night.
In that report, officials with the OSDH said due to newly reported data, the OSDH has identified 13,148 COVID-19 tests have been administered in Oklahoma to date, dating back to February.
“I have been in contact this morning with about 30 of my doctor friends who, nobody had access to testing in February,“ Dr. Cail said. “None of us really out in the field got access, really, until the 2nd or 3rd week of March.”
Officials with OSDH said Commissioner Gary Cox sent a letter to all of the private labs, requesting any test results from February 1st to March 31st.
The data revealed more than 11,000 negative results.
“It’s anywhere that sends test information to a private lab,” Shelley Zumwalt, a representative with OSDH, said.
The department is also now reporting recovery numbers. As of Monday, 522 people had recovered from COVID-19.
“What we’re using for our recovered numbers, is we’re defining people who are currently not hospitalized or deceased and are 14 days after onset or have been reported to us,” Zumwalt said.
The CDC’s criteria for someone to “discontinue home isolation” includes, among other things, two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart.
We asked Governor Stitt during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon why this is not being done in Oklahoma.
“I’m not sure about negative tests. You have to test twice. I’ll have to check that out and I’ll get back with you on it,” Stitt said.
Representatives from his office, later telling News 4 different states are using different metrics.
Zumwalt also later told News 4, “Right now we are prioritizing testing people that are currently sick. We are using the data we we have available to provide some insight into the those people who have recovered and the parameters for how we are estimating those recovery numbers are clearly outlined on the EO report.”