Covid-19 cases spike in Southwest Oklahoma

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 8:22 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The Comanche County Health Department collects positive covid-19 test numbers every 7 days from labs, urgent care, hospitals, and doctors’ offices to keep the community updated. And this week southwest Oklahoma is in the red.

Brandie Combs, the regional director of Oklahoma State Department of Health District five said while people are going out of town and spending time in crowded airports, she doesn’t think that’s the only thing causing these numbers to spike.

“So they tend to be more worried in the fall and winter when more people are spending time indoors. So right I think it’s driven from the simple fact that this particular variant is pretty infectious,” said Combs.

Megan Garibay a Comanche County Memorial hospital infection preventionist said BA.5 is the newest covid-19 variant which is showing to be significantly more contagious and infectious and is believed to be driving these high numbers.

“That’s the thing with variants is viruses mutate all the time, sometimes they mutate to be weaker sometimes they mutate to be stronger. It looks like the current one that we’re on it’s not causing more severe diseases but it does seem to be a little bit more transmittable than previous strands,” said Garibay.

Garibay said the CDC recommendation and the recommendations they follow, is if you’ve had high-risk exposure; which is being closer than 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes to someone who has covid-19 or is experiencing symptoms, you should get tested. But, many factors are affecting the accuracy of early testing which is creating confusion.

“People need to be aware that in some cases especially if you are vaccinated or had covid before that testing on that first day of symptoms may give a negative test because you don’t have a detectable viral load. In that case, if you continue to have symptoms you would want to retest,” said Garibay.

Garibay said even with the spike in covid-19 cases in southwest Oklahoma, they don’t have many people in the ICU because of Covid-19.

“These are people that are just sick enough to be hospitalized and need a lot of monitoring or support but not necessarily sick enough to be in the ICU which is great,” said Garibay.

The Comanche County Health Department wants to help with the spread of Covid-19 and is asking the community to utilize its services.

“Or all of a sudden I have a runny nose I feel okay but I have a runny nose and cough. We want to test you because those typical symptoms can equate to allergies or just a common summer cold. That can be very well symptoms of covid-19,” said Combs.

Comanche County Memorial Hospital and the health department are encouraging people to stay home or get tested if they have symptoms or have been exposed. But they said please do not use the ER as a testing site, the ER is only for true emergencies.

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