Omicron sweeps state in latest report

by Jordan Green

The omicron variant of the coronavirus now accounts for more than half of Oklahoma’s new coronavirus cases, state health officials said. Data released this month shows that omicron cases make up 57% of the state’s caseload, while the delta variant makes up 43%. Those numbers were determined from variant sequencing, state officials said.

“Our team continues to monitor cases and hospitalizations to provide critical data that allows Oklahomans to make the best decisions for themselves,” said Keith Reed, the state’s interim commissioner of health.

“Coinciding with our increased case count and what other states are seeing, current data shows omicron is increasing in Oklahoma, and we anticipate that will continue.”

Kay County’s active coronavirus case numbers increased by more than 40% during the week ending Dec. 29, Kay County Health Department officials said. The county’s case numbers increased by 21.1% during the week ending Jan. 5. About 43% of Kay County residents over the age of 5 are fully vaccinated against the virus, and 51.1% have taken at least one dose of the vaccine.

The county has had 8,683 cases of the coronavirus since March 2020. The omicron variant of the virus, which some health officials say is more contagious but has milder symptoms than previous variants, was first detected in the Sooner State on Dec. 21. Keith Reed, the state’s interim commissioner of health, said vaccination is the “best way” to gain protection from the virus.

He also encourages people to wear masks in crowded public places and to get tested for the coronavirus if they feel sick. State officials reported Jan. 4 that 2,124,006 Oklahomans, about 57% of the state’s eligible population, were fully vaccinated. More than 569,000 Oklahomans have taken a booster dose. Since the pandemic began, Oklahoma has had 764,651 coronavirus cases, 61,912 of which are active, officials said. Statewide, 12,650 people have died from the virus.

Blackwell has had 1,138 cases, with 1,050 recoveries and 41 deaths. Braman has had 51 cases, all of which are recoveries.

Kaw City has had 123 cases, five of which are active. Newkirk has had 736 cases, with 711 recoveries and nine deaths. Ponca City has had 6,297 cases, with 5,941 recoveries and 114 deaths. Tonkawa has had 624 cases, with 590 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 vaccine-faqs.html.