Health Experts Say More Precautions Must Be Taken For Return To In-Person Learning


Friday, November 20th 2020, 2:58 pm
By: Kelsey Kernstine


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma has seen just under 20,000 new cases of COVID-19 during this week alone. More than 100 people have died over the same time span.

OU Medicine Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said the numbers are an alarming trend.

"COVID-19 has become the most common kind of death in that 24-to-44 age group even more common than opioid overdoses,” Dr. Bratzler said.

Dr. Bratzler said the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation expects a peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Oklahoma by Jan. 10, 2021.

“More than 3,000 people in the hospital which would be doubling what we have today,” Dr. Bratzler said.

The state health department reported Friday that there are more than 30,000 active COVID-19 cases (30,724) across the state.  

Although some state and local officials have implemented restrictions, historically, Dr. Bratzler said, numbers don't improve overnight.

“There was typically about a two-week lag between implementation of a mandate before we see improved numbers,” Dr. Bratzler said.

Dr. Bratzler and his colleagues are worried about hospital capacity. They are also encouraging people to go get their flu shots now if they haven't already.

As far as in-person learning goes for students, Dr. Bratzler suggested more must be mandated if they are to return to normal this January.

"To get people back in school, to change the map, the color of the map, then we need to do much more than we are doing right now to make that happen,” Dr. Bratzler said. “We need to get people universally wearing masks. We have to ask people [to] physically distance themselves."