In Oklahoma, COVID-19 is on the rise again.
Last week, the state reported its biggest weekly event since February, according to state data.
And these numbers are almost small because they do not include the home tests that have been used a lot lately. An Oklahoma expert estimates that the actual number of infections could be eight times higher than officially reported.
The proliferation is due, at least in part, to a new omicron subvariant called BA.2.12.1, which is more contagious than the original omicron variant or other previous variants.
The subvariant has a mutation that re-infects people who were infected with the original omicron variant during a wave of infection in late 2021 and early 2022, the doctor said. Dale Bratzler, Chief COVID Officer, University of Oklahoma.
BA.2.12.1 now accounts for more than half of all cases in our region, ”Bratzler said, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It carries a mutation called a delta mutation,” he said. “People who received COVID in this major omicron emergency in December and January, their antibodies can’t necessarily protect them from BA.2.12.1 because they have new mutations that were not present in the original omicron. are passing and becoming positive. ”
Oklahoma COVID-19 tracker:Weekly updates on new cases, deaths, vaccines
Recent COVID numbers
Oklahoma reported nearly 2,400 new cases on Thursday, the state updated every week, and the state reported more than 4,500 active cases.
Epidemiologist Aaron Wendelbo, who has used the model to monitor the spread of COVID since the pandemic began, said the number of infections in the community could be eight times higher.
“I actually think there were 19,000 to 20,000 cases in the state,” Wendelboe said in a call to the Oklahoma coalition on Tuesday, referring to last week’s events.
Wendelboe said the shortage of pandemic cases has increased. This is partly due to the increasing use of home tests. Because more people are vaccinated, they may not know they have COVID-19 or be tested for the infection, and symptoms may be mild, he said.
The State Department of Health acknowledged that COVID-19 infection was more prevalent than reported cases. Other figures, including hospitalizations and deaths, are still rising, said Ian Fox, the state health department’s deputy commissioner for health.
According to the latest figures, an average of 109 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state, including 24 at the ICU. That’s more than an average of 91 admissions last week.
Hospitalization is still lower than this year’s peak.
Integris Health officials did not notice a slight increase in hospitalizations, but it was as severe as in previous uprisings, the doctor said. David Chansolme, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Integris Health.
“But this is not necessarily the case all over the country,” Chansolme said. “If you look at the East, you know, they see a lot of patients, and some hospitals say it’s more than they appear. So we have to wait and see what happens. ”
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What to do if the test is positive
If you pass a positive test for COVID-19 at home, you can look for a PCR test to confirm, officials said.
On the other hand, if you have a negative test at home, but still have symptoms that suggest you may have COVID-19, it is still wise to look for a PCR test, experts say.
PCR tests, which are the most sensitive and accurate tests for COVID-19, are reported to the Department of Health for official results.
Fox, with the Department of Health, has now made therapy and treatment for COVID-19, which was previously insufficient, available. People interested in treatment that can help prevent hospitalization or death from COVID-19 can contact a doctor or call an ambulance if they do not have primary care, he said.
The Department of Health website has guidelines and calculators for isolation and quarantine. In general, people should be isolated for at least five days after a positive test for COVID-19, and even longer if symptoms persist.
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Precautions should not be forgotten
Experts urge Oklahoma residents to be aware of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Being current with your amplifiers can save you from hospitalization and save your life,” said Wendelboe, an epidemiologist at OU College of Public Health. “Especially if you’re over 50, you’re generally entitled to four doses.”
People with weakened immune systems over the age of 12 are also eligible for a second booster dose.
The Department of Health also encouraged people to wear masks in public places, clean their hands properly, and stay home when they fall ill.
To get a vaccine near you, go to vaccines.gov or vaccinate.oklahoma.gov.