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Concerns arise about COVID-19 variant testing, Oklahoma report

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the omicron variant is spreading across the country, a local health expert is concerned that we don’t have a clear picture of its impact on Oklahoma.

“I think we need to determine that we’ve had a failure and we need to fix it,” said Dr. George Monks of the Oklahoma State Medical Association. “Oklahomans deserves better.”

The monk was constantly reviewing the state’s COVID-19 numbers and checking for variations that interested him and that’s where he became interested, finding discrepancies in reported numbers.

“Oklahoma state says we’ve done 11,198 tests, but CDC shows we’ve only done 6,880,” Monks said. “We were the last state in the country to identify an alpha variant, and we were the last state in the country to identify omicrons so something wasn’t working.”

Monks believes the difference is actually larger because the CDC numbers represent data from all labs, not just the state medical lab, which affects what information Oklahomans receive and when.

“The CDC released information that in our area as of December 20, 92% of cases are omicrons and yet the Oklahoma Pandemic Center has yet to find a single omicron case,” Monks said. “The first case was identified by an external laboratory. That leads me to think that no variant testing took place at the Oklahoma Pandemic Center testing facility. ”

The monks believe that most of the new COVID-19 cases now in Oklahoma are likely omicrons.

He says identifying these variants can have a big impact on your treatment if you go to test positive.

“There is only one type of monoclonal antibody that is active against omicrons, so we really had to switch from another monoclonal antibody treatment to another,” Monks said.

We have reached out to the Oklahoma Department of Health for comment but have yet to receive a response.

https://kfor.com/news/local/concerns-raised-over-covid-19-variant-testing-reporting-in-oklahoma/ Concerns arise about COVID-19 variant testing, Oklahoma report

JACLYN DIAZ

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