Oklahoma is changing the way it reports COVID-19 numbers

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – So far, the results of rapid COVID-19 antigen tests haven’t been included in Oklahoma’s daily case numbers.

Now, with those tests becoming more popular and reliable, starting Tuesday, the state will begin including them in the daily count of new positive tests, something health officials say should give us a better picture of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.

“To start with, I don’t think the number will be significant. In the future, that’s why we need to do it now,” State Health Commissioner Col. Lance Frye said. “In the future it will be more significant as those tests get deployed and people start using them.”

OU Medicine’s Chief COVID Officer, Dr. Dale Bratzler, says he’s glad the state is taking this step and it’s long overdue.

“Because so many people do get a rain antigen test, and because they are fairly readily available,” Bratzler said. “I think it’s important that we make sure we are counting those cases.”

On Tuesday, the state will also begin using the Johns Hopkins method for rate of rest-positivity. So, if the same person tests positive for COVID-19 multiple times, it only counts as one case, not multiple positive tests.

“It has cases, which are unique individuals,” Interim State Epidemiologist Jared Taylor said. “Regardless of how many times they tested positive, they’re a case.”

State health officials also say they’re being told to prepare for the possibility of a vaccine being available sometime in November or December.

“If the CDC has given us the direction that we should prepare that we could see it, then it is a possibility,” Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said. “The likely good of it, I wouldn’t want to speculate on that.”

If that does happen, we’re told the vaccine would first go to priority populations like health care workers and first responders.

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