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OSDH Announces Adjustments to Publishing of COVID-19 Data

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today that its COVID-19 data tracker, located at coronavirus.health.ok.gov, will continue reporting active and recovered COVID-19 cases by county only, as permitted by State law, and the agency will no longer be able to publish COVID-19 data by city, zip code, or by long-term care and nursing home facility due to the State’s Catastrophic Emergency Declaration expiring on May 31, 2020.

OSDH and the office of Governor Kevin Stitt are actively exploring additional legal opinions and solutions to ensure the public, the medical community, and elected leaders can access relevant COVID-19 data that will allow for quick and effective decision-making while Oklahoma awaits a treatment or vaccine to mute the novel virus.

“OSDH will continue to publish daily the most recent active and recovered COVID-19 cases by county,” said OSDH Communications Director Kristin Davis. “The State’s infrastructure is in a much stronger position for continuing to address the presence of the novel coronavirus, and the core purpose of the emergency declaration is no longer needed. At the same time, Governor Kevin Stitt and Commissioner Lance Frye continue their shared commitment to transparency and availability of critical COVID-19 data. They have tasked the State’s legal experts to explore other options for providing critical health data that would support all stakeholders’ decision making during the presence of COVID-19, while also safeguarding Oklahomans’ protected health information.”

The Legislature first granted the Governor’s request for a Catastrophic Emergency Health declaration on April 7, and the declaration was later extended until the end of May. Under the declaration, the Governor was able to redirect state agency resources and state employee efforts to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and was able to activate the Oklahoma National Guard. During this period, the Governor also waived statutory requirements to allow for more granular reporting of COVID-19 data to support rapid decision making at local levels on the response to COVID-19.

Since the Catastrophic Emergency Declaration went into effect, the number of Oklahomans in the hospital for COVID-19 has declined by roughly 65%, the weekly rate of deaths related to COVID-19 has declined by 56%, and the percentage of positive cases has declined to an all-time low of 3.7%.

While some data adjustments will be made, OSDH will continue to issue the daily media advisory with cumulative statewide COVID-19 data as well as publish the following reports:

The COVID-19 Dashboard.

The Governor’s daily Executive Order Report.

The weekly The Weekly Epidemiology Report.