OU Chief COVID-19 Officer ‘Encouraged’ By Statewide Numbers

Friday, August 14th 2020, 5:19 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper

The University of Oklahoma's Chief COVID Officer said he's encouraged by the last week.

"It's really nice to talk about downward trends for a change," said Dr. Dale Bratzler.

Dr. Bratzler said the seven-day rolling average of new cases statewide is at a three-week low with an average of 663 new cases a day.

Just a couple of weeks ago, that number was nearly 1,100.

"We're seeing the trends we want to see,” Bratzler said. “A reduced number of positive tests, fewer new cases that are being confirmed in Oklahoma."

Dr. Bratzler said he thinks the change is related to mask mandates going into effect in stores and 14 cities across Oklahoma.

He also wants people and cities to be cautious because numbers have gone back up before, and he's encouraging mask mandates to continue.

"The reality is until we get broad distribution of a vaccine, wearing a mask may be the ‘new normal’ for quite some time. Maybe a year, maybe another 2 years," he said.

As some school districts go back to in person learning, Dr. Bratzler said he's encouraging parents to make their kids wear a mask even if their district isn't requiring it, because he said kids can still get and spread the virus, with about 400,000 childhood cases nationwide so far this year.

"The most important things that we can do are those public health interventions that we've talked about so many times," said Dr. Bratzler.

Bratzler said most districts statewide are doing a good job of encouraging just that.