OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The delta variant has left us in yet another surge of COVID-19 cases, and in Oklahoma City, city council members are looking to the health department on where to turn next.
“How can we be helpful here?” asked Ward 2 Oklahoma City Councilman James Cooper.
That was the biggest question left looming over Tuesday’s Oklahoma City Council meeting.
Council members – along with Blaine Bolding with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department – are looking at where we’ve been and what’s next.
“As you can see, we started rolling out the vaccines, that sharply dropped the cases,” Bolding said.
According to the latest state epidemiology report, a little more than 65% of Oklahoma County’s residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine.
“In Oklahoma County, less than half, 46% of eligible residents 12 and up are considered fully vaccinated and more importantly, 82% of our 65 and up are fully vaccinated,” said Bolding.
The younger group is where they say this surge is happening and with the start of school just around the corner – for some – worry is setting in.
“Twelve and under children – I just can’t stress that enough – children, right, who are not eligible for this vaccine right now – they are about to return to classrooms,” said Cooper.
“We are really trying to promote everyone else to get vaccinated to help protect those children,” Bolding said.
OCCHD officials have been following the surge and its path as they prepare for the coming days.
“We saw this delta variant essentially coming down the I-44 corridor from Missouri and Arkansas through Tulsa to here and Tulsa for the last three weeks has been triple the hospitalizations we’ve been consistently for three weeks,” said Bolding. “The vaccine, right now, is our biggest friend.”
OCCHD says it’s been working on outreach programs – getting the vaccine to those who don’t have access to transportation.
Bolding says it looks like children ages 5-11 could become eligible for the Pfizer vaccine in late September or early October.