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OSDH extending COVID-19 testing hours at local health departments as case numbers increase

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health is extending COVID-19 testing hours at local health departments as the demand for tests and case numbers increased over the past week.

According to KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, along with extending the hours, the health department will offer weekend availability at select locations as well as deploy mobile units to various locations across Oklahoma.

People looking for COVID-19 testing locations and hours can find information here or on county health departments’ Facebook pages. Oklahomans also can call their local county health department or 211 for hours and locations.

“While at-home testing is convenient, and rapid testing provides an immediate result, it is important to remember PCR tests provide the most accurate results, allow for variant sequencing and the ability to contact trace,” Oklahoma state epidemiologist Jolianne Stone said in a news release. “PCR test results are typically available within 24-48 hours and are highly encouraged for accurate testing.”

Since Friday’s update, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has reported more than 12,000 new COVID-19 cases in the Sooner State.

“Like other states, Oklahoma is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, however many other respiratory illnesses are occurring as well,” Keith Reed, interim commissioner of health, said in the release. “We highly encourage anyone who is feeling ill to stay home from work, school and other activities and schedule a COVID-19 test or appointment with their physician. Staying home while awaiting your appointment, results and for your symptoms to clear is important for your health and will help prevent the spread of illness.”

Oklahomans also have recently seen long lines at testing sites, and one metro-area location had to shut down before noon Monday because of the number of people. One person told KOCO 5 that they were waiting hours to get a COVID-19 test.

Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Health’s chief COVID-19 officer, said he doesn’t think the lines will slow down any time soon.

“The state department just today reported 16,000 new cases in the past five days,” Bratzler said Monday. “It just gives you some sense of the number of people that are seeking testing right now.”