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Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected in Oklahoma

A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Radoslav Zilinsky
/
Getty Images
A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Omicron now accounts for the majority of new cases in the U.S., and it had been detected in 47 other states before health officials issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon. The statement didn’t disclose where in the state the variant was detected. 

A group of medical professionals called the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition held a weekly briefing a few hours before. Members said it was nearly impossible to believe the variant hadn’t made its way to the state yet, considering its rampant presence across the country and in the states surrounding Oklahoma. 

Oklahoma State Department of Health officials said the agency’s public health lab has been testing all results it receives. However, the lab — which has been embroiled in controversy for years and just underwent a federal investigation — receives a small fraction of all tests conducted, and can’t test rapid or at-home results.

“Getting your COVID-19 shot is the best way to protect yourself and others, even from new variants like this one. Wearing a mask, especially in crowded indoor places, can also help protect you from infection," said Keith Reed, interim Commissioner of Health, in a statement. "And if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, tests can tell you if you are currently infected and are available at pharmacies across the state. Tests can also provide reassurance that your holiday gatherings are safe.”

Oklahomans can find vaccine appointments in their area by visiting a local pharmacy or personal provider, using the state’s Vaccine Scheduler Portal, visiting vaccines.gov or by calling 211.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online

Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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