State Health Commissioner Reflects On 2-Year Anniversary Of COVID-19 In Oklahoma

Friday, March 4th 2022, 9:25 am

This coming Sunday marks two years since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Oklahoma.

News 9’s Tevis Hillis spoke with the state health commissioner, Keith Reed, about what's next for this pandemic.

At this time, 56% of the state is fully vaccinated.

As the state feels prepared for what could be next, fighting this pandemic has come with a constant string of questions asking what more they could do.

A large public concern was the amount of variant testing happening, but Keith Reed says the public lab is identifying the variants as they come.

"We are testing every positive case that we identify in our public health lab," said Interim Health Commissioner Keith Reed.    

Oklahomans are concerned about ranking number one in the country for deaths from COVID, but Reed says this data is misleading.

The report is based on the day the death report was written, not the day the person died.

"Oklahoma is listed as 15th when it comes to deaths per capita, and that is not something to brag about. We are not happy we had any deaths in the state, that is a tragedy," said Reed.  

While the state is seeing a decrease in hospitalizations and positive cases, the health department says they want to enter a new phase within the pandemic.

"We will continue to monitor the data and keep Oklahomans informed," said Reed. "I am not ready to say we are moving into the endemic phase, yet I would also say endemic phase will not be a date on the calendar." 

While we want to get back to normal, the state is reminding everyone we will not reach the endemic phase until the hospital system is not at risk.