As metro doctors and epidemiologists voiced their concerns about family indoor gatherings during Thanksgiving week, the state is now seeing COVID-19 cases continuing to rise two weeks later.
"Perhaps this holiday season is the one where you stay at home," Oklahoma City-County Health Department epidemiologist Eddie Withers said. "The most concerning thing is this amnesia kind of thing."
Withers said he sees the numbers and cases every day and raises concerns when people disregard the virus.
"It is no secret that the cases are, in fact, climbing," Withers said.
OU’s Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said he turns his concerns towards the rural spread.
"Since the start of the pandemic, Alfalfa County has only had 573 cases, but 171 of those cases were confirmed in the past week," Dr. Bratzler said. "Remember where people get this infection. It is when people bring people together indoors and at events."
Dr. Bratzler said studies show that indoor events are 18.7 times more likely to spread the virus than outdoor events.
The historic October ice storm raised official's concerns regarding a small surge of cases. As electricity went out for thousands, many gathered in homes with electricity.
Now, as Oklahoma welcomes another winter storm expected to arrive Sunday, Dr. Bratzler encourages wearing masks as often as possible for those who visit indoors.
"Being in indoor events with people, particularly when they are not wearing masks, drastically increases the risk of transmission of this virus," Dr. Bratzler said.
As for the COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use late Friday night. The first doses are to arrive in Oklahoma as early as Dec. 16.