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School-age coronavirus infections outnumber oldest demographic for the past two weeks in Tulsa County

School-age coronavirus infections outnumber oldest demographic for the past two weeks in Tulsa County

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Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, speaks Thursday during a news conference updating the local COVID-19 response.

Youngsters infected with COVID-19 are more numerous than positives in the oldest age group for the second consecutive week in Tulsa County, according to local data.

Bruce Dart, Tulsa Health Department executive director, on Thursday presented statistics for the week of Sept. 6-12. He said children ages 5-17 had more cases that week and the prior week than the age 65-plus demographic.

The age group with the most positives continues to be 18-35, with ages 36-49 in second place.

Dart said local outbreaks have been identified at K-12 schools, colleges and universities, religious services and long-term care settings. He noted that there have been 196 confirmed cases associated with K-12 settings since Aug. 19 reported by the schools in Tulsa County.

Tulsa Public Schools is using distance learning for the first semester and monitoring data to form a decision in October about its second nine weeks.

“Among cases associated with high-risk settings, schools had the most cases followed by long-term care settings,” Dart said. “We also identified a notable number of cases within food service workers.

“Our food protection service program continues to work with the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and local food establishment owners and operators to make recommendations to keep employees safe, which in turn will keep visitors to their establishments safe.”

The White House Coronavirus Task Force report on Sept. 13 recommended that areas in the red or yellow zones “use standard metrics to determine school learning options and capacity limits for bars and indoor dining.”

Tulsa and Tulsa County have been in the red for high rates of COVID-19 spread since the weekly reports first listed both on July 14.

Dart said the White House uses standard measures to make specific recommendations that local data indicate isn’t applicable to what is happening here.

He said some of the task force’s information is pertinent but that its data isn’t as timely as what THD collects. He noted that THD is developing a ZIP code-level risk assessment map based on more timely data to help inform Tulsans of local hazards.

“Frankly, I’m not sure how it’s interpreted based on what’s happening here in Tulsa,” Dart said of the White House reports. “It’s interpreted based on some metrics they set, but it doesn’t always connect with what the data is telling us is occurring here.”

Dart reminded Tulsans that THD doesn’t charge for COVID-19 testing. He noted that testing numbers are down and public health officials still encourage people to get tested if they think they might have been exposed to the disease.

He said THD often can do same-day scheduling for a test if one calls in the morning, with results returned within three business days. Contact the Tulsa Health Department at 918-582-9355.


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Corey Jones

918-581-8359

corey.jones@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @JonesingToWrite

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Staff Writer

I am a general assignment reporter who predominately writes about public health, public safety and justice reform. I'm in journalism to help make this community, state, country and, ultimately, world a better place.

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