OSDH Urges Oklahomans To Get Booster Shots As COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Continue To Rise In The State

Thursday, December 9th 2021, 5:09 pm

Officials with the state health department said the rise in cases is because of several things that include holiday gatherings.

To be clear, they said this rise is still fueled by the Delta variant, and Omicron has not been found in Oklahoma, yet.

"Obviously, our hope was that the downward trend would continue in cases or plateau, but we aren't surprised we have seen an increase." said interim Commissioner of Health Keith Reed.

In the past week, COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 83%.

State health officials also reported an upward trend in hospitalizations, with less than 600 Oklahomans in hospitals across the state. About 189 of them are in intensive care units.

"We have seen a 20% increase in the past couple of weeks, but we are well below where we were in previous surges," Reed said. 

The rise in cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant found in the United States, including states that border Oklahoma, Reed said booster doses are the best way to protect against the virus.

"The breakthrough infections we are seeing are in individuals that completed their initial vaccine series more than 200 days ago," said Reed. "So you have people that are potentially becoming more susceptible to COVID again."

On Thursday, the FDA recommended booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for those ages 16 and 17. The CDC has given the final green light.

Reed said they have plenty of supply in place and are ready to add this age group to the booster eligibility list.

"We are ready to go ahead and initiate that plan immediately," said Reed.