Funding provides continued free virus testing in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma State Department of Health is providing $5.8 million to continue free coronavirus testing through the end of the year.

“As we enter the holiday season, we have been running an unprecedented number of COVID-19 tests for Oklahomans,” state health commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said in a statement late Thursday.

“We urge Oklahomans to continue to get tested, especially if you plan to travel or gather with anyone outside of your household during the holiday season,” Frye said.

Federal funding has been used to provide more than 2 million free tests statewide since the pandemic began, the health department said.

The department on Friday reported 208,875 total cases and 1,860 deaths due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began, increases of 4,827 cases and 24 deaths from Thursday. The true number of infections in Oklahoma is likely higher because many haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The seven-day rolling average of deaths in the state has risen from 15.3 to 22.3 since Nov. 19 and the rolling average of the positivity rate increased from 14% to 19% during the same period. The average number of new cases rose slightly, from 2,807 to 2,815 per day.

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