Tulsa Health Dept. Encourages Vaccinations & Booster Shots As Omicron Spreads

Wednesday, December 1st 2021, 10:16 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

The Tulsa Health Department says with the new variant of COVID-19 now in the United States, they wouldn't be surprised to see it confirmed in Oklahoma soon.

Tulsa Health Department says the Omicron variant is so new, they are still researching it and how serious the symptoms could be.

The first case of the Omicron variant in the US was confirmed today in California, and the Tulsa Health Department says it could be in Oklahoma soon.

"We know how highly transmissible it is, we know how fast it moves so it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that it could be in Oklahoma already," he said.

Dr. Bruce Dart with the Tulsa Health Department says the state is prepared to test for the variant.

He says scientists are still learning more about Omicron, and it's unknown what its effects could be.

"The last thing we want to see is more people exposed and infected because we don't know so much about it yet, and so it's best to not have a case and have to deal with it," he said.

Dart says with the upcoming holiday season, there is a concern for COVID-19 cases to rise.

Clinical Services Manager Ellen Niemitalo says that's one of the reasons it's important to still take precautions against the virus.

"People are really tired of this, and a little bit more complacency where people don't want to take those approaches and do the measures, we know are going to be effective," she said.

Dart says viruses change and adapt to stay active, so we can expect to see more variants of COVID-19 in the future.

"That's why having more people vaccinated to prevent viral replication and the possibility of mutation is so important," he said.

Dart says the best thing you can do if you are experiencing symptoms is to get tested, because that helps those in public health track and identify different variants.