We’re now heading into our second holiday season where COVID-19 could disrupt plans.
COVID cases are spiking nationally, and, in Oklahoma, we are seeing about a 1,000 new cases a day.
“We have about 700 Oklahomans in the hospital and about a third of those people are in the intensive care unit. so certainly not gone, we’re still seeing spread of the virus,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Health Chief COVID-19 Officer.
The new Omicron variant is expected to be identified in Oklahoma at any point – the state is surrounded by states that have already confirmed Omicron cases.
“Most of my colleagues feel that Omicron is probably here we just haven’t identified it yet,” Dr. Bratzler said.
There are plenty of people susceptible to the worst of the virus – only 56% of Oklahomans are vaccinated to be protected against more severe symptoms of the disease.
“The one thing that we know very well is that its highly contagious, it spreads quite easily,” said Dr. Bratzler.
If you need to get a COVID test before traveling for Christmas this week -- the OKC County Health Department is offering free tests until Christmas at its northeast campus near 63rd and Bryant.
Free PCR nasal tests will be available Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You can make an appointment at testokc.com.
Drive-ups are also welcome.
Dr. Bratzler says to keep in mind older and immunocompromised family members – they are at higher risk for severe infection.
“Remember the things that work for all variants, wearing your mask indoors certainly works, outdoor activities, its going to be very nice this weekend, so outdoor activities are always safer,” said Dr. Bratzler.
Dr. Bratzler says that after about four months, vaccine protection drops off.
A booster dose gives you a 70-percent better chance of resistance to Omicron.