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OSDH provides COVID-19 safety guidance for holiday weekend

July Fourth Travel
Posted at 2:03 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 15:03:47-04

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is providing guidance for Oklahomans planning to gather for the upcoming holiday weekend.

“We hope you take this time to relax with family and friends,” said Dr. Lance Frye, Commissioner of Health for the state of Oklahoma. “However, we want everyone to be cautious when gathering this weekend, especially if you have not been vaccinated, as some areas across the state are seeing an uptick in recent case numbers. Some COVID-19 variants, particularly the Delta variant, are more transmissible among people who haven’t received the vaccine and could potentially cause severe illness.”

This Fourth of July, OSDH recommends you take the following precautions:

If you are fully vaccinated:

  • According to CDC and OSDH guidance, you don’t need to wear a mask when gathering indoors or outdoors, unless required by local law or business guidance. However, you can still choose to wear a mask if you are attending a crowded gathering or meeting with people who are not vaccinated.
  • You may want to take advantage of the summer weather and celebrate outdoors, particularly if you are meeting up with anyone who is not vaccinated.
  • If you plan to travel, you may be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, or other public transportation.

If you are not vaccinated:

  • OSDH and the CDC recommend you wear a mask if you plan to gather indoors with people outside your household.
  • You can choose not to wear a mask if you plan to gather outdoors in a socially distanced setting.
  • If you plan to travel, you may be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, or other public transportation.

OSDH says these safety guidelines are particularly important in light of emerging variants of COVID-19.

“Variants of any virus are to be expected,” said Dr. Gitanjali Pai, Chief Medical Officer for the state of Oklahoma. “However, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously. Cases of COVID-19 in people who have already had the vaccine, known as breakthrough cases, are less likely to occur but possible. If you are vaccinated, it is less likely that you will have a severe or life-threatening case of COVID-19 if you do become infected. The Delta variant poses a significant risk to those who have not been vaccinated, though, because it spreads more easily than other strains and, like all strains, can cause severe illness in unvaccinated people.”

As of June 28 in the state of Oklahoma:

  • 737 total breakthrough cases have occurred
  • A total of 54 cases of the Delta variant have been detected, and 778 total cases of variants have been detected in the state through sequencing
  • 53.2% of Oklahomans 12 years older and up have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 45.6% of Oklahomans 12 years older and up are fully vaccinated
  • 90% of recent hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are patients who have not yet received the vaccine.

“The best way you can protect yourself against more transmissible variants like the Delta variant is to get vaccinated,” said Keith Reed, Deputy Commissioner with OSDH. “Right now, the evidence we have shows that the FDA Emergency Use Authorized vaccines currently in use are largely effective against variants of COVID-19. If you’re unvaccinated, we ask that you please take other precautions such as the three W’s — wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.”

Resources for finding a COVID-19 vaccine near you can be found at the state of Oklahoma's website.

More information on variants, sequencing, and vaccination data can be found in OSDH’s Weekly Epidemiology Report.

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