EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – On Wednesday, hundreds of Oklahomans waited for hours to get tested for COVID-19. At one point, the testing location even closed off the line.
Oklahomans were eager to get tested for COVID-19 due to exposure, having symptoms or just preparing for New Year’s holiday plans.
“I think people are just scared,” said John Crabtree, who was trying to get in line in the Crest parking lot. “People just want to be safe.”
Some people waited for over three hours to get a rapid test. The line stretched nearly to the street on Santa Fe in Edmond.
“So we’re trying to figure out how to get in the line with the other 100 cars that are in line,” said Crabtree.
COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on an already hurting industry: nursing homes.
“So workforce concerns have been around in long-term care for a long period of time, and when COVID came, it just simply exasperated it to the point where it has reached an absolute crisis mode,” said Steven Buck, president of Care Providers Oklahoma.
Buck said he hopes the new CDC guidance of lowering quarantine time to only five days instead of ten will help.
“Arguably, that was a very important decision by CDC as it will allow more workers to return to the workforce sooner,” said Buck.
OU’s Chief COVID-19 Officer, Dr. Dale Bratzler, said if you are feeling under the weather at all, get tested.
“You can’t tell the flu or RSV or parainfluenza from COVID 19,” said Dr. Bratzler. “So if you have symptoms, particularly if you are going to have to be around other people, please get a test done or do a rapid antigen test if you can find one.”
Dr. Bratzler also said upgrading your mask will keep you better protected.
“There’s some evidence that wearing a medical grade mask may be more protective than the cloth masks that many of us, including me, have worn for a long time,” said Dr. Bratzler.
Oklahoma’s death rate is one of the highest nationwide. Dr. Bratzler said there are two main reasons why:
“One, our low vaccination rate,” said Dr. Bratzler. We’re just barely over 50% of our population is fully vaccinated.”
The second reason, chronic illness.
“Diabetes, obesity, lung disease, heart disease, those are all prominent conditions in Oklahoma puts our population at greater risk of death,” said Dr. Bratzler.
Dr. Bratzler said improving your overall health will lower your chances of extreme COVID-19 symptoms and death. Even losing extra body fat will help.