"Omicron" COVID variant not in Oklahoma... yet

by Jordan Green

State health officials are monitoring COVID-19 test results to detect a newly identified corona-virus variant. The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa last week and has since spread to other nations. As of Monday, Oklahoma health officials said no cases of the variant had been found in the state yet.

“We are more prepared than ever to respond to emerging variants with many tools and re-sources available to us, including early detection of COVID-19 variants through genomic se-quencing,” State Epidemiologist Jolianne Stone said Monday. “To aid in gauging the impact of COVID-19 in our community, as well as identifying new variants like Omicron early on, we en-courage Oklahomans to get tested for COVID-19 if they are feeling sick.”

Officials continue to urge Oklahomans to be vaccinated against the coronavirus and for fully vaccinated people to take a booster dose.

State officials reported Nov. 22 that 2,027,437 Oklahomans, about 51.2% of the state’s eligible population, were fully vaccinated. More than 340,000 Oklahomans have taken a booster dose. Oklahoma has had 666,040 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, 8,701 of which are active, officials said. Statewide, 11,903 people have died from the virus. Blackwell has had 975 cases, with 921 recoveries and 41 deaths. Braman has had 45 cases. Kaw City has had 105 cases. Newkirk has had 668 cases, with 629 recoveries and nine deaths. Ponca City has had 5,677 cas-es, with 5,387 recoveries and 110 deaths. Tonkawa has had 559 cases, with 531 recoveries and 18 deaths.

The state health department does not provide data on coronavirus cases in some of the state’s smallest towns, including Nardin in Kay County. Vaccinations are available for free at some pharmacies and stores across the county, among other locations. For more information on vaccinations, or to schedule a vaccine appointment, visit https://oklahoma.gov/ covid19/vaccine-information/vaccine-faqs.html.