Catherine Sweeney | KGOU
KGOU

Catherine Sweeney

Reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma

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.

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When the federal government kicked off Operation Warp Speed, the program to administer vaccines, it allowed states to build their own plans. These plans created priority groups, and then sorted those into phases. For example, Oklahoma’s frontline health care workers who treat COVID-19 patients became the first priority group, and composed Phase one. Phase two includes several groups, such as Oklahomans over the age of 65 and health workers not treating COVID-19.

A nurse draws Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine into a syringe Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Can Oklahomans over the age of 65 get the coronavirus vaccine yet?

It depends on where they live.

Post-Holiday Coronavirus Surge Likely In Oklahoma

Dec 30, 2020
Dale Bratzler, University of Oklahoma’s chief COVID officer.
OU Health

As Oklahoma rounds out the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, residents have come to expect post-holiday spikes in case counts. After every major holiday, such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day, daily new cases of the virus doubled statewide.

Tom Gent and his brothers have been going to the opera with his mom, Marsue, since they were kids.

Oklahoma Administers Its First Coronavirus Vaccine

Dec 14, 2020
NTEGRIS Health registered nurse Hannah White getting the state's first official dose of coronavirus vaccine.
Kassie McClung / Read Frontier

Oklahoma administered its first coronavirus vaccine Monday, marking a major milestone in the pandemic: what officials called the beginning of the end.


The Oklahoma State Department of Health building in Oklahoma City.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Contractors could soon manage the Oklahoma Public Health Laboratory, Interim Commissioner of Health Lance Frye told employees this week.

In this May 23, 1944 file photo, the organism treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis, is seen through an electron microscope.
AP

For years, syphilis seemed to disappear from the United States and from Oklahoma. But its return and ensuing surge have created a tragic pattern: a rise in babies born with the infection.


Earlier this year, health care workers formed the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition.
Facebook / Healthier Oklahoma Coalition

Despite full ICUs and record-breaking case counts, state officials have maintained that Oklahoma’s coronavirus situation is tenable and requires little new action. StateImpact’s Catherine Sweeney reports that a coalition of health professionals are starting to speak for themselves.

In this June 30, 2020 file photo, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health, Dr. Lance Frye, speaks at a news conference, in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

As Oklahoma attempts to manage its third coronavirus wave, state officials have pitched a controversial tool to address the state’s health worker shortage: allowing infected nurses, physicians and staff to keep working.

Visitors enter an emergency room at a rural Oklahoma hospital.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

As the demand for intensive care among Oklahoma’s coronavirus patients continues to surge, the system is seeing strain from beginning to end — from ambulance services, to small-town hospitals, to the state’s metro health systems.


Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

As intensive care units run out of capacity and hospital administrators ring alarm bells, the Stitt administration has maintained that hospital capacity is not under threat, and that messaging otherwise is a tactic to scare Oklahomans.

Samples are prepared for coronavirus testing at IMMY lab in Norman on April 2.
Provided

Without congressional action, Oklahoma’s coronavirus testing could soon dwindle.

With his face mask down around his neck, Stitt encouraged Oklahomans to wear a face mask, but said that he will not consider placing a face mask mandate on Oklahoma.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Continued growth in Oklahoma’s coronavirus cases have led to a heightened push for statewide mask mandates, but public health officials say that’s not likely.

The line for early voting at a polling place in Oklahoma County wraps around the Edmond Church of Christ on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Back in June, Oklahoma voted to expand Medicaid. Now voters have given the state legislature an assignment: Find another way to pay for it.

ocde.us

For the past several days, Oklahoma’s coronavirus hospitalizations have surpassed 1,000, and its statewide ICU capacity has dropped below 10 percent. StateImpact’s Catherine Sweeney has the latest on what officials are doing to address the worsening COVID-19 situation.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health building in Oklahoma City.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s plan to move the state public health laboratory is getting more criticism. A national lab association is raising concerns about the interim facility and uprooting the lab during a pandemic.

In this May 23, 1944 file photo, the organism treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis, is seen through an electron microscope.
AP

Over the past six months, we’ve gotten pretty familiar with terms we hadn’t heard regularly before, like contact tracers and infectious disease intervention specialists. But they’re not new. Before the coronavirus, many of Oklahoma’s workers in that sector had their eye on another disease: syphilis.

Oklahoma is finally getting a new public health lab, but it won’t be in Oklahoma City.

Samples are prepared for coronavirus testing at IMMY lab in Norman on April 2.
Provided

A few weeks after Oklahoma’s coronavirus case counts began trending back up, hospitalizations have followed.

Oklahoma’s College Campuses Continue To Be Coronavirus Hotspots

Oct 1, 2020
The University of Oklahoma campus.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

A September surge of COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma is largely a result of the coronavirus’ spread on college campuses.

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