According to the CDC, Oklahoma is ranked last for variant testing in the state.
As COVID-19 cases drop in Oklahoma, one thing that has raised concern among health professionals is the spread of variants.
“Over the last three months we have seen a pretty significant increase in the B117 variant which is widely known as the UK variant,” said Dr. David Chansolme, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Integris Health
Chansolme said to track variants the state department of health will take surveillance data and send it off to the CDC to determine if it is in fact a variant of concern.
According to the CDC, Oklahoma ranks 50th in the U.S. for testing for the variants, which local doctors are hopeful will change soon.
“We have talked to Commissioner Frye about this, and you know it is on the department of health’s list to ramp it up – they know that,” said Dr Jean Hausheer, Past-President of the Oklahoma State Medical Association and Chair of the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition. “But I have seen some improvement in the last several weeks.”
With an increase in testing for variants it could help health care professionals to determine which variant is in the state and where it may be spreading because each is different.
“The new double mutant variant out of India looks like it affects the 30 to 50-year-old age group and P1 variant from Brazil has had over 1,300 children die with half of them being less than the age of 5,” said Dr. Donna Tyungu, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist with OU Health.