What's going on with the new COVID strain in Oklahoma?

by Jordan Green

State health officials said no cases of a new coronavirus variant have been detected in Oklahoma as of Monday. The omicron variant originated in South Africa in late November and has since spread to 17 U.S. states.

“As the winter holidays approach, we recommend Oklahomans follow the precautions that we know protect against severe illness,” said Keith Reed, the state’s interim commissioner of health. “Doing so is a good way to give yourself peace of mind that you can gather and celebrate with loved ones without the risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19.”

State officials reported Nov. 30 that 2,037,156 Oklahomans, about 55% of the state’s eligible population, were fully vaccinated.

More than 376,000 Oklahomans have taken a booster dose. Oklahoma has had 674,758 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, 10,742 of which are active, officials said. Statewide, 12,027 people have died from the virus.

Blackwell has had 994 cases, with 934 recoveries and 41 deaths. Braman has had 50 cases. Kaw City has had 107 cases. Newkirk has had 674 cases, with 654 recoveries and nine deaths. Ponca City has had 5,752 cases, with 5,508 recoveries and 110 deaths. Tonkawa has had 566 cases, with 540 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.