OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While many people feel as though the coronavirus pandemic is over, Oklahoma doctors stress that COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases have been reported within the last week in the Sooner State.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported 54 additional COVID-19 deaths in Oklahoma.
“We have seen an increase in numbers that is primarily due to a few new circulating variants. About 25% of the circulating variants in this region of the country are due to another offshoot of the omicron variant. This is kind of the third or fourth generation of the original,” said Dr. David Chansolme, INTEGRIS Health Medical Director Infection Prevention.
Dr. Chansolme says that, fortunately, hospitalizations have not increased as rapidly.
“Although there has been about a 20% increase in hospitalizations across the country,” he added.
Dr. Chansolme says that people who have been vaccinated but still contracted omicron have a very high immunization rate. He says those people are less likely to be infected by these newer variants.
“We don’t test quite as much as we used to, so we may be underestimating the burden of disease in Oklahoma. At any rate, in Oklahoma, we still have not seen a huge increase in the amount of disease. But across the country, cases have increased about 50%,” he said.
He says that if the past is any indication of what will happen in the future, we can expect the virus to spread and cases to rise.
People who are over the age of 50 are encouraged to get a second booster, which would be a fourth shot, at least four months after their first booster dose.
Dr. Chansolme says that he doesn’t believe COVID-19 is at an endemic stage yet, but he believes we are close to it.
“I do think we will continue to see seasonal and occasional spikes in COVID. Again, the way to combat that more than anything is by being vaccinated and making sure that you’re staying abreast of the most recent recommendations,” he said.