Oklahoma County officials say vaccination is the key to beating recent COVID-19 spike

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials say the Delta variant is one of the factors as new COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise in Central Oklahoma. The Oklahoma City-County Health Department on Wednesday, issued a plea to the unvaccinated to roll up their sleeves for those who can’t.

Oklahoma County has the best vaccination rate in the state but still more than 300,000 residents have not gotten the shot. Experts say that needs to change as schools are about to open

“We kinda took a vacation from COVID for a couple of months and its back,” said Phil Maytubby, COO of the OCCHD.

The Oklahoma City County Health Department says their new case 7-day average is up 98 percent in the last week. With hospitalization number growing. They say 98 percent of those in care have not been vaccinated. Officials say more Oklahomans getting the shot is the key to combatting the recent spike.

“This is the only way we are going to stop this,” said Maytubby.

(Getty Images)

One big group at risk is young children. There have been 127 cases in kids, 11 and younger, this month. There’s been a 29 percent increase in cases for that age group since May. Oklahoma City Public Schools are slated to start August 9, but OCCHD officials say an emergency approved vaccine for kids won’t be available until late September or October, at the earliest.

“If you have not been vaccinated and you have the luxury of having a vaccine available to you, please do it for the children,” said OCCHD CEO Dr. Patrick McGough.

OCCHD officials are asking those who are already vaccinated to talk to their friends, family and coworkers who are not, about getting the shot especially in the 12-35 age range. That group is lagging behind.

Officials say they will continue to follow CDC guidelines and, at this point, will not ask for a mask mandate or for those already vaccinated to wear masks indoors. But that’s not stopping some businesses like Coven Salon in downtown Oklahoma City from reinstituting their own rules.

“With the numbers going up and the possibility of people getting sick again, we just want to protect our clients as well as ourselves. We are asking everyone vaccinated or not to wear a mask just to be safe,” said Mandi Heldreth of Coven Salon.

OCCHD says vaccinations are available six days a week at their locations and so is testing if you show any signs of symptoms. Go to their website for details.

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