Health officials ask people to be cautious about COVID-19 over holiday weekend

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With Fourth of July celebrations happening this weekend, health officials want people to stay mindful of COVID-19.

“I am worried. People are going to be getting together, and a lot of us have sort of forgotten that this virus is still around,” Dr. George Monks with the Oklahoma State Medical Association said.

He says there’s been an uptick in cases because of the Delta variant.

“This has been driven by this Delta variant that is twice as contagious as the previous variants of concern and probably increases your chance of being hospitalized somewhere between two and four times what the original virus did,” Monks said.

The State Health Department says if you are vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask but might consider it if you’re going to be someplace crowded or around unvaccinated people.

If you aren’t vaccinated, they recommend wearing a mask if you’re gathering indoors with people outside your household. Outdoor gatherings are suggested. 

“There’s been documented cases with this Delta variant that it only takes a very brief exposure with somebody that has COVID to catch this virus, sometimes it’s as short as five to 15 seconds,” Monks said.

Experts say the best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated.

“If you thought that this pandemic was over, and that’s why you weren’t getting your vaccination, the Delta virus is proving you wrong, so please, I just plead with Oklahomans to go get vaccinated,” Monks said.

The State Health Department also says if you plan to travel, masks may required on planes, busses, or public transportation.

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