Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said one million Oklahomans have tested positive for covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. The interim commissioner said even though 25% of the state population has tested positive for the virus, he believes we are closer to reaching the end of the pandemic.
"We have already hit that number with lag times and reporting. Oklahomans who have not been tested because they have an asymptomatic case. At home tests being available as well as those that just chose not to get tested," said Interim Commissioner Keith Reed.
Reed said a number of factors affect daily testing results, but said the state is able to track trends based on information from hospitals. "It does remain a top priority. We hope that we are heading toward an endemic state, but we're not quite there yet. As I mentioned in my comments hospitalizations are still at a high level that is putting a stress on the hospitals and there is still a lot of cases out there on a daily basis," said Reed.
He said reaching an endemic means covid is no longer a daily crisis, but, something we live with, like the flu and healthcare leaders expect new variants of covid. "Nobody can really address Effectively the emergence of new variants. So that's the one element. I'm not too concerned about the omicron variant having a resurgence. Especially the number of folks who have both been vaccinated and developed natural immunity. But another variant would be concerning," said Dr. David Kendrick, CEO of MyHealth Access Network.