TULSA, Okla. — A drop in COVID-19 cases across the state prompted the Oklahoma State Department of Health to investigate a possible glitch in the computer tracking system.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye raised his concerns at a House Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday.
“We are using archaic very old systems. A lot of it was customized specifically for Oklahoma which is not really the way to go," Frye said.
After weeks of increasing cases in the state, the lower numbers caused officials to question whether those figures were accurate.
"It just didn't feel right to us that our numbers are dropping in the state when everyone we know is saying they are testing positive," Frye said. "So, we started asking questions looking into it and found out that the last couple of days, one of the systems has not been functioning as it was supposed to. So, we think there are some numbers out there that are going to have to be loaded by hand into the system."
Since that meeting, the OSDH confirms there was a malfunction but the data remains accurate. The health department provided 2 Works for You the following statement:
The COVID-19 case numbers have been significantly lower this week, which prompted us to investigate their validity as well as our reporting systems out of an abundance of caution. After checking with staff and comparing different sources of information, we can report the data is accurate and our case count has been significantly down this week. This is great news for our state and follows a trend of decreased cases we are seeing broadly nationwide. We are hopeful this trend will continue and are cautiously optimistic. I want to thank Oklahomans for continuing to be vigilant in taking precautions to safeguard yourself and those around you, including wearing a mask, watching your distance and washing your hands.
In addition, hospitalizations statewide are trending down, which we know is a much-needed respite for our health care workers on the front-lines. We are also encouraged with our vaccine rollout strategy and implementation and ask Oklahomans to continue to be patient as we get our most at-risk populations vaccinated as quickly as possible.
As always, we will continue to monitor our data and state trends with the hope that our cases will continue to decrease and are committed to sharing that information in a timely and transparent manner with all Oklahomans.
Here in Green Country, Mayor G.T. Bynum reported hospitalizations in Tulsa are down from the record high 10 days ago. However, Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, reminds the community that we still have a long way to go despite these positive trends.
“Sadly, the death toll in Tulsa County continues to increase," Dr. Dart said. "For the last three weeks in Tulsa County, the deaths reported have been 40 or more per week.”
So far, the OSDH has not explained what malfunctioned within the computer systems that called the data into question.
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