Oklahoma health officials highlight places where COVID-19 is spreading

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb across Oklahoma, health officials are highlighting certain places where residents are at a higher risk of catching the virus.

Recently, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department compiled a list of the ‘serious four,’ which consists of the four places you’re more likely to catch COVID-19.  

The list includes:

  • Faith-based venues
  • Restaurants
  • Day cares
  • Office settings

Officials say the list is based on data collected from July 7 through July 21 as a result of contact tracing.

“They added office spaces to that today because, particularly, if your office doesn’t require a mask and you’re in an open area with other people, that’s a risk factor for infection,” Dr. Dale Bratzler, with OU Medicine, said. 

“We’ve been seeing individuals that tested positive and then maybe their colleague tested positive days later,” LToya Knighten, Oklahoma City-County Health Department government affairs liaison, said.  

The health department says they are still seeing the virus spread in bars, warehouses, and gyms.

“Any setting, particularly indoor settings, where there are a lot of people in close proximity, particularly if they’re not wearing masks, can increase your risk of getting the infection,” Bratzler said. 

However, doctors with INTEGRIS Health say there are several other venues that should be avoided.

The ‘serious seven’ consists of the following:

  • House gatherings
  • Bars
  • Gyms
  • Weddings
  • Funerals
  • Faith-based activities
  • Other small events

Medical experts say gatherings at home may seem safe since there are fewer people involved, but they stress that those gatherings still involve a risk.

“You think you’re safe in your house. Well, you are if you’re there by yourself, but you invite other people in, you don’t know what their risk has been, you don’t know what their exposure has been. And so you’re taking the chance that when they come in to the home, that they are asymptomatic at the time, they are not showing symptoms, but they’re shedding viral particles and they spread them to the individuals in the home,” Dr. Jeffrey Cruzan, President of the INTEGRIS Medical Group, said.

When it comes to bars, officials say many young people gather in bars and are in close proximity to one another without the necessary precautions.

“They’re probably going to do well, but then they’re gonna expose grandma and grandpa, or mom and dad or somebody else who has other illnesses or are at risk for other reasons, and they could get the virus and have a really poor outcome,” Dr. Cruzan said.

Although you may be trying to stay fit while working out at a gym, experts say that is also a spot where COVID-19 is often spread.

“Simply because people get in there and they huff and puff a lot, and they’re blowing out a lot of particles. And usually, gyms don’t have great airflow and you’re in a condensed space with more people,” said Dr. Cruzan.

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