Oklahoma doctor encourages residents to wear masks, says to “not be selfish”

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As communities across the country are now considering going back to stay-at-home orders, health officials in Oklahoma are paying close attention to a growing number of COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, the Oklahoma State of Department of Health announced that Oklahoma has had 13,172 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.

Recently, health officials said the steady incline in cases was connected to more people going out in public.

“I think we all predicted as society opened back up appropriately that there would be an uptick in cases. That is not a surprise to anybody in the healthcare field. I think none of us thought COVID was gone. Even when we had the really low numbers, we were still seeing some people,” said Dr. David Chansolme, INTEGRIS Medical Director of Infection Prevention. “It’s just a matter of time until this very contagious illness was going to spread through, and we expect that that’s going to continue to happen.”

Officials at INTEGRIS Health say they are seeing more hospitalizations related to COVID-19, and say many other health systems are seeing the same increase in cases.

“The uptick we’re seeing now is really the fruit of what happened three or four weeks ago, and just as we’re seeing now what happened a month ago, we can expect in a month from now, it’s going to be a reflection of the things that we’re doing today,” he said.

At this point, experts say you should practice social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing a mask.

“I know it’s hot outside. I know it’s not fun to wear a mask all the time, but my mask keeps you safe, your mask keeps me safe. And by doing that, if everyone is doing that, we can impact the contagiosity of this disease. It won’t eradicate it, but it will slow it down and it’s all about the social contract we have with one another to try and keep our community safe,” Dr. Chansolme said.

“So continue to find ways to get your masks, to wear your masks and to not be selfish, frankly, because it’s all about everybody. We’re all in this together and just because you’re not at high risk for disease doesn’t mean the person next to you isn’t. We all have family members and loved ones who are at high risk for developing profound problems with COVID and we want to keep everybody safe,” he added.

Officials say INTEGRIS has dedicated entire units to the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

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