State Health Dept. addresses increase in Oklahoma COVID-19 cases

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Thursday, August 26th’s reported cases of 4,152 marks the largest increase since January.

But the State Department of Health said we’re better prepared than we were during the last surge.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in community spread throughout our state. And some of that is at our schools as well,” said Col. Lance Frye, Commissioner of Health.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announcing 4,152 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday– just weeks after Oklahoma children went back to the classroom.

“It is concerning to see this increase,” Frye said. “Statewide covid hospitalizations continue to be attributed largely to unvaccinated Oklahomans with 93.3% of the admissions in the last 30 days being individuals that have not yet been vaccinated.”

OU Health’s Dr. Dale Bratzler says doctors have been looking to see if there would be an increase in cases from schools.

“We’re a week to two weeks into the school year now and I think these increasing numbers could reflect, I’ll emphasize ‘could reflect,’ some increasing cases because schools have reopened which brings many unvaccinated people together in indoor settings,” Bratzler said.

Further emphasizing mitigation strategies like wearing masks and social distancing in the schools.

“Most kids won’t end up in the hospital. But their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles may. So, that’s our concern with Covid in schools,” Bratzler said.

As hospitalizations increase, the state announced a partnership with the Muscogee Creek Nation. 

The tribe recently purchasing the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Hospital in Tulsa.

Starting in mid-September, they will treat patients with monoclonal antibody treatments. The infusions have been successful in treating some COVID-19 patients.

“And these services will be available to any Oklahoman whose conditions will qualify them to receive it,” said Shawn Terry, Sec. of Health for the Muscogee Nation. “We have got to find ways to get this type of care out there to everyone.”

Those services will start out with about 20 to 30 infusions for the first few days. Staff will be added along the way and the tribe hopes to start offering some 200 to 400 infusions a week.

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