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The Oklahoma State Department of Health has released a suite of new initiatives aimed at helping people check, report, and track COVID-19 infections throughout the state and in their local area.

The new tool rolls out in combination with over 80 new drive-thru testing sites offering free COVID-19 tests so Oklahomans can better understand the way the virus is impacting the state and communities.

Gary Cox, Oklahoma’s health commissioner explains the Department of Health’s preparations to meet the threat of COVID-19. (Brett Dickerson, Okla City Free Press)

“I’m thrilled to offer this resource to the citizens of Oklahoma as we enter into the predicted peak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner of Health Gary Cox.

“Getting testing information into the hands of people who are symptomatic is crucial to flattening the curve and the public dashboard that is populated with data from OSDH will give anyone the ability to see data drilled down to their city and zip code.”

Accurate reporting and communicating of infection levels are important so that community members can make wise choices about their own habits, and helping the government understand conditions on the ground to enable them to make responsible decisions about when and how to move forward during this crisis.

How it works

Residents can report symptoms either using the symptom tracking website and the tracker will give personalized advice regarding the next steps you should take including information and help with scheduling a test. There is no need to download an app as specific advice and information will be sent via text message to each individual that makes a report.

For residents without the ability to receive text messages or who are unable to access the internet, calling 2-1-1 is the best option. Your symptoms will be relayed to the Oklahoma State Health Department where an operator can help you live on the phone.

More information

For residents who are just curious and keeping track of the situation in their community, the website offers a wealth of information about common symptoms, infection rates by state, county, or zip code, and demographic information about infection rates both by age and gender.

More information about how the community is being affected are available on the OSDH COVID-19 Data Dashboard which contains links to weekly reports on infection rates broken down by age and gender, but also race.

The reports also have a hospital status report tracking how many hospital beds are in use, the percentage of ventilators in use, and the average number of days of PPE on hand, giving residents a better view of how the community is doing in “flattening the curve” or slowing the rate of infection so that hospitals do not get overwhelmed.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is also providing information from testing centers and hospitals that will further help understand the day to day changes in community health and that data is available to the public HERE.

Testing the tracker and dashboard

At the time of publication the website showed that 91% of hospital beds are in use and that there are only 12.6 days of PPE on hand.

The site crashed within a few hours of opening Thursday from a crush of people who want to know more about their situation in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

In a press release Thursday evening the OSDH said: “All available resources are being used to fix this issue and the COVID-19 Data Dashboard will be live as soon as we can resolve this problem.”

Friday morning our spot checks showed that the site is still struggling to stand up to the interest it has received. But, the OSDH continues work to handle the traffic the site is receiving.

To learn more see our coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Oklahoma by clicking on the category Health and COVID-19.

Last Updated April 17, 2020, 10:23 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor