State health department to shift communication priority as data reporting struggles

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite
Oklahoma has recorded 26.326 cases of COVID-19, with 20,663 recoveries and 461 deaths.

State health officials appear to be shifting resources as daily COVID-19 data reporting continues to struggle. The interim commissioner for the Oklahoma State Department of Health said on Tuesday that multiple challenges have been experienced during the pandemic.

“OSDH’s number one priority is making COVID-19 testing widely available and efficient for the public as well as operating an effective, and trusted, contact tracing program,” said interim Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye in a daily situation update on Tuesday. 

“During this time of increased demand, OSDH is prioritizing manpower and resources to communicate positive test results and to provide medical guidance for quarantining and minimizing spread,” he said.

Carter County has recorded 224 cases of COVID-19, with 185 recoveries and three deaths.

The statement came the same day nearly 900 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Oklahoma. While a near-record high number, the data released by OSDH has likely been inaccurate. The department last week said they were aware of delays in reporting data and blamed outdated technology for the problems.

The data released Tuesday became available after 4 p.m., nearly five hours after the normal daily release. Information was at first incomplete and indicated nearly 1,700 new cases but no information on recoveries or new hospitalizations. By 4:30 p.m., the OSDH website dashboard showed 893 new confirmed cases, 26 new hospitalizations and nine new deaths statewide.

At least 613 COVID-19 patients were listed as hospitalized statewide on Tuesday.

Carter County data showed eight new cases, all in Ardmore, for 224 total cases of COVID-19. Six new recoveries were recorded in the county Tuesday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 185. Recoveries are defined as cases not currently hospitalized or deceased 14 days after onset or report.