Holt: Now is not the time to relax COVID-19 precautions

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Health officials across the state are urging Oklahomans to take precautions as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the community.

In the past seven days, experts say Oklahoma has seen at least 1,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. In addition to the sudden rise in cases, officials say they are also seeing a jump in hospitalizations.

At this point, there are 210 people in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms just in Oklahoma City.

“We’ve seen an uptick in cases in the last week and over the weekend, we had that similar jump in hospitalizations here in Oklahoma City. We jumped about 24% just over the three days of the weekend. You know, it’s hard not to notice it’s two weeks after Labor Day. We’ve had bad luck with holiday weekends in the past. It tends to be a catalyst. I know there’s a lot of factors that go into it, but whatever the reason, we seem to be on the uptrend again. It’s a good time to remind everybody to take precautions,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.

As the state welcomes fall, health leaders say communities still need to be prepared for the upcoming flu season.

“We’ve got the flu coming up. We’ve got fall weather and the tendency to be more indoors, which is a more conducive atmosphere to spreading the virus. We haven’t lived through a fall yet or a winter with this virus. It arrived in mid-March so, obviously, we’re concerned. We just want to remind people to wash your hands, keep your distance, and wear your mask. You do those things and you’re highly unlikely to transmit the virus. Just be cautious of it. You can still do a lot of the activities that you engaged in before the pandemic. You just gotta be thoughtful and you gotta take some precautions and do some things in a little different way, and you’ll be OK. Just keep it in mind. Sometimes I think that it’s just human nature to sorta forget after a little while and then the numbers tick up and the news reports start flying that we’re hitting record highs and people take their precautions again. Well, this is that time. This is the time that we’re sounding the alarm bell to take those precautions,” Holt said.

Researchers across the country say the hot spots for COVID-19 have moved to the center of the country, including Oklahoma.

“We’re all just trying to figure out how to strike the right note with our constituents so they know the seriousness of this. Sometimes, it’s fun like the ‘Mask Up’ campaign and tv ads, but sometimes we gotta get serious as well. Whatever the case, we’re just trying to make sure that everybody has this front of mind. I’m like everybody else; I’m a little over the pandemic. But it’s still a deadly virus sweeping through our community and as you and I talk right now, there’s over 200 people in the hospital here in Oklahoma City just because of COVID-19 and that’s the gravity of the situation. Their experience began with a conversation, with being too close to somebody else. You gotta remember, whatever it is, that meal, that gathering, that meeting, it’s not worth going to the hospital over. So think of another way to do it. Do it over Zoom, or just sit a few feet apart. Whatever the case, try to keep those precautions in front of mind,” Holt said.

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