Oklahoma Health Experts Optimistic About Omicron Peak

Wednesday, January 26th 2022, 5:29 pm

As Oklahoma deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases, OU's Chief COVID officer said there are signs of hope.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that we're seeing the cases start to trail off or not rise as rapidly," said Dr. Dale Bratzler.

Dr. Bratzler said despite unprecedented case counts throughout the month of January, some new data is encouraging.

Positivity rates, which measure the percentage of COVID tests in the state that come back positive are falling.

"We're very early, but that's often an early sign that you're getting past a peak," said Bratzler.

He said the percentage of internal staffing at their health system having to quarantine is also plummeting.

The three day rolling average of new cases is leveling off.

Data from the east coast may also be an indicator.

"New York, New Jersey, those east coast states hit their peak at about January 10,” said Bratzler. “And throughout this pandemic, I've said we are a good two weeks behind the coast states. I'm hoping we see a fairly rapid fall off of cases."

Despite this, Bratzler said hospitals in Oklahoma are strained and expect hospitalizations, which lag case counts, to increase over the next couple of weeks.

While the Omicron variant may be less severe for most people, the sheer number of cases, combined with incidental cases from the high community spread, are keeping them busy.

"The resources to take care of a patient infected with COVID are the same whether we are treating them for COVID or they have broken bones from a car accident and are incidentally found to have COVID,” said Bratzler. “We still have to isolate them."

The state health department said there are 1,970 Oklahomans in the hospital with COVID across the state.