TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa County health officials are urging people to be cautious if they plan to attend a social gathering.
The health department said people need to be extra careful considering the upward trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Tulsa area. Healthcare systems are warning of a critical tipping point if the trend continues.
“I have concerns about groups of people gathering indoors for prolonged lengths of time,” said THD Executive Director, Dr. Bruce Dart. “We are losing the battle against COVID in Oklahoma, in both rural and metropolitan areas. As cases continue to rise, increases in hospitalizations and deaths always follow this type of surge.”
THD encourages the following guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when attending gatherings of any size:
- Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, because it is difficult to maintain social distancing in larger groups.
- Everyone is advised to practice personal responsibility at gatherings by wearing a cloth face covering.
- Practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from other people who live outside the home.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Further guidance is available from the CDC.
The risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:
- Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.
- More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city or county).
- Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
- Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.
Health officials recommend the following when hosting a gathering:
- Ensure that hand sanitizer, tissues, trash baskets, disposable facemasks and cleaners and disinfectants are available to guests.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects with detergent and water prior to disinfection, especially surfaces that are visibly dirty. It’s important to clean and disinfect these frequently touched services regularly throughout the day.
- Remind guests that if they are feeling under the weather to stay home.
If you participated in higher risk activities, officials recommend that you take extra precautions for 14 days after the event to protect others:
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19 5-7 days following the event or potential exposure.
“The warning signs are everywhere, please don’t pretend this isn’t real; be safe, be smart,” said Dr. Dart. “We are entering a new and scary phase of COVID and we have to unite against this virus. The bottom line is that the more people an infected individual interacts with and the longer that interaction lasts, the greater the risk for spreading COVID-19 becomes.”
The Tulsa Health Department is conducting COVID-19 testing by appointment only. For more information, call 918-582-9355 or click here.
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