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Oklahoma Public Health Officials Consider Collecting Their Own Coronavirus Data

Oklahoma City-County health officials are casting doubt on the state's coronavirus data.

The city-county health department held a special meeting about virus response Monday. The department’s board members talked about delays they’re seeing in state-reported figures. Daily case counts, hospitalizations and death numbers all have a lag.

Several officials said some of that can be attributed to inherent delays. For example, it takes a while for a nasal swab to get processed and announced positive. But many board members, including chairman Gary Raskob, said some of it is mismanagement.

“It’s my feeling that we need to be, as a city-county health department, completely independent in getting public health data in our jurisdiction,” he said.

The board agreed and voted to move forward on developing their own system to determine daily case counts, hospitalizations, deaths and more. There is still much to be considered before building their own database, including costs and whether state statute allows it.

The meeting occurred just a few hours after the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced its daily cases had been skewed significantly because of technical issues.

The state reported 209 new cases on Sunday and 168 cases on Monday morning; both numbers were a steep decline compared to last week, when a record 1,075 cases were reported Wednesday. The department issued a released Monday morning explaining the precipitous drop.

“Due to technical data entry issues, case counts for Sunday, July 19 and Monday, July 20, are low and do not reflect real-time data,” the release read.

This story is developing.

Catherine Sweeney was StateImpact Oklahoma's health reporter from 2020 to 2023.
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