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Some of Oklahoma's top doctors stress mask use as COVID cases trend downward

Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 08:19:41-05

TULSA, Okla. — Some of Oklahoma's top doctors gathered virtually to discuss COVID infection rates and vaccinations Tuesday afternoon.

During the hour-long video call, one topic stressed is the importance of mask ordinances, even as more Oklahomans get vaccinated and the state goes through a downward trend of cases and hospitalizations. They said they do not want to risk another spike.

“I can’t overemphasize that the mitigation strategies that we’re using continue to buy us time to vaccinate Oklahomans and get people to have immunity through vaccination-induced rather than taking their chances against the virus," said Dr. Aaron Wendelboe, epidemiologist and professor at the OU College of Public Health.

The U.S. now has another vaccine on the market. Doctors said Johnson and Johnson's vaccine will be easier to administer because it is a one-dose shot.

"It's a one-dose shot. Number two, it can be stored in a fridge," said Dr. David Chansolme, medical director of infection prevention at Integris Health. "It’s shipped cold. It’s not shipped in ultra-low temperatures like the other ones have been. That makes a big difference for the state to provide this to a swath of practitioners."

Dr. Wendelboe also projects by continuing mask ordinances, thousands of cases and hospitalizations, and hundreds of deaths would be prevented over the next three months in Oklahoma.

The Healthier Oklahoma Coalition, a group representing health care professional organizations from around the state, discussed the following topics:

  • COVID infection rates
  • New Johnson and Johnson vaccine
  • Children's mental health during the pandemic
  • Increase in vaccinations

WATCH the video here:

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