Oklahoma health officials plead for residents to vaccinate
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A coalition of Oklahoma health officials on Tuesday pleaded with Oklahomans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the number of cases and hospitalizations rise in the state.
Aaron Wendelboe, an epidemiologist at the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, said hospitalizations have nearly tripled since June. The state health department reported a seven-day average of 733 new cases daily, double the average of 364 from a week ago.
“On average, each infected person with COVID is transmitting it to 2.9 other people,” compared to each infected person who transmitted the illness to two people in June, Wendelboe said.
The health department reported a three-day average of 409 people hospitalized with COVID, almost four times the average of 116 in late June, topping 400 for the first time since early June.
Assistant Deputy Health Commissioner Buffy Heater said 90% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated, “which further indicates to us that vaccines are safe and continue to be effective against all strains or all variants of COVID.”
Oklahoma ranks ninth in the nation with 209.2 new virus cases per 100,000 residents, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.