Friday, January 28, 2022

Health Dep't moving away from contact tracing, offers update on treatments

OSDH, THD and OCCHD Transitioning Away from Universal Case Investigation and Contact Tracing for COVID-19
Joint statement on national efforts moving forward through the pandemic

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), the Tulsa County Health Department (THD) and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) are moving away from universal case investigation and contact tracing to focus on a more strategic approach of outbreak investigations and targeted case investigations.

Transitioning away from these is something Oklahoma has been moving toward in many ways, as evident in the implementation of OSDHCI which is allowing our case investigators and epidemiologist to prioritize following-up on outbreaks or clusters, as well as individuals in high-risk settings after a positive COVID-19 result.

“Tools such as at-home testing kits, updated isolation and quarantine guidance, and the self-serve case investigation portal has provided Oklahomans the opportunity to be the driver of their own personal health and the health of their family and community,” said leaders from all three agencies. “Empowering Oklahomans with the most up to date recommendations and mitigation strategies has paved the way for autonomy and a more sustained public health system that is not reliant on universal case investigation and contact tracing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The community has a greater understanding of public health and the necessity of public health intervention and how to navigate those tools.”

This change isn’t unique to Oklahoma. Five national public health organizations issued guidance on Tuesday supporting the transition.

“It is appropriate for our public health agencies to transition our resources into more effective strategies to lessen the impact of COVID-19 by focusing surveillance and prevention efforts on the most severe outcomes of COVID-19: hospitalizations and deaths,” stated the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) along with several other agencies.

You can read the full, joint statement from national public health organizations here.

OSDH Releases Updates on Treatments for COVID-19
After recent updates from the FDA

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is committed to sharing the most up to date and timely information about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Monday, the FDA removed the authorization for the use of two monoclonal antibody treatments that have been on the market, REGEN-COV and Bam/Ete, due to their ineffectiveness against the omicron variant, taking into consideration the prevalence of omicron in the country. 

Right now, in Oklahoma, our sequencing surveillance shows us 98% of cases are attributable to the omicron variant.  

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) currently recommends four treatments for COVID-19. Listed in order of preference those are Paxlovid, Sotrovimab, Remdesivir and Molnupiravir.  

“We know that the supply of these treatments is limited across the country,” said Keith Reed, interim commissioner of health. “We want Oklahomans to know that despite the limited supply, our team is doing everything we can to secure these treatments for our state.” 

Individuals seeking Paxlovid, Sotrovimab and Molnupiravir can utilize the OK Therapeutics Locator Tool here to find providers nearby. 

Oklahomans will need to call a site directly or speak with their healthcare provider for access to these treatments, rather than showing up to a site seeking them. 

Individuals seeking out Remdesivir will also need to speak with their healthcare provider to discuss eligibility and access options. This product is not allocated through the state by the OSDH. 

We want to also take time to remind Oklahomans that our healthcare systems are currently experiencing a high number of COVID hospitalizations, paired with some of our most severe staffing shortages. If you are seeking testing, please utilize county health departments, pharmacies or healthcare provider offices. Testing locations can be found here.  

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at


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