State Discovers Hundreds Of Unreported Positive COVID-19 Tests, Local Officials Call For Change

Tuesday, July 21st 2020, 5:55 pm
By: Storme Jones

Local health officials said it is taking too long to get COVID-19 numbers from the state department of health. Now the Oklahoma City County Health Department is considering creating their own data system.

Local department epidemiologist Dr. Patrick McGough told the City County board the state’s system is “antiquated and broken.”

“It was really never built to take on a pandemic,” Interim State Health Commissioner Col. Lance Frye said at a press conference.

Tuesday, the state reported it had lost track of 829 positive COVID-19 cases.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said in a press release their system relies on fax machines and entering number by hand. Frye said it crashed multiple times the past few days.

“We ran a sweep through there to make sure if there were any cases that were sitting there that we needed to make sure we processed through and there were those 800 some odd cases,” Frye said.

Now, the local Oklahoma City County Health Department has voted to begin exploring creating their own system.

“What we simply want is to be able to have a database independently at Oklahoma City County Health Department where we get these results in real time, independently and eliminate that second delay step,” OCCHD Board Chair Dr. Gary Raskob said.

He said accurate, timely data is not only important for officials to decide what steps to take to fight the virus, but also for contact tracing. He said Oklahoma State Health Department data just isn’t cutting it.

“We have a positive working relationship, but we also have a responsibility at Oklahoma City County Health Department to meet the needs of the metro Oklahoma City County,” Raskob said.