Coronavirus Testing In Oklahoma: Health Departments Announce Van Testing Program


Thursday, April 30th 2020, 10:40 pm
By: Barry Mangold


OKLAHOMA CITY -

In the past month, the rate of new COVID-19 cases has dropped significantly, according to Gov. Kevin Stitt.

At a press conference Thursday, Stitt said that the daily rate of positive tests has dropped to 5.67% from more than 10% at the beginning of the month.

"That is a great sign that we're having a lower percentage come back positive," Stitt said.

Several businesses will be allowed to open Friday as part of the governor's Open Up & Recover Safely (OURS) plan. 

In May, Stitt said the state will work to test 2% of Oklahoma's population, which is about 90,000 people. The state has tested more than 65,000 since the beginning of the pandemic earlier this year.

Oklahoma Health Commissioner Gary Cox also announced a public-private partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield, the OKC-County Health Department and the Tulsa Health Department. The healthcare provider will allow the state to use nine of its "Caring Vans" to bolster accessibility to virus tests in different areas of the state.

"We found it was a match made in heaven. (The Oklahoma Department of Health) had tests, we had mobile capabilities. And now we're able to help communities across our state," said Dr. Joseph Cunningham, the president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.

The vans, which are normally used for immunizations and other screenings, will be stationed in areas where testing accessibility and transportation are a challenge. One van will be placed in state senate district 48, which covers northeast Oklahoma City. The locations for the other eight vans were not yet determined, according to an OKHD spokesperson, pending conversations with community leaders.

The area's state senator, George Young, said the vans will help bridge the gap of health care inequality.

“What hurts us is what we don't know. that's why I'm thankful that we have access to testing to get testing to people," Young said at the press conference Thursday.

Click here to watch the full press conference.