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October 18, 2021, 10:39:34 pm
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Author Topic: State Health laboratory Moves  (Read 584 times)
T-Town Elder
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These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For

« on: August 17, 2021, 12:35:18 pm »

Despite touting the ability to genomically sequence COVID-19 samples as a driving force behind investment into the state's Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence, which opened in January, Oklahoma continues to rank last in the nation for percentage of positive COVID samples sequenced, according to federal data.

In Oklahoma, Dr. Jared Taylor, Oklahoma’s lead state epidemiologist, couldn’t see the full picture.
Inside the state health department in Oklahoma City, staffers shuffled through piles of paper they’d pulled out of fax machines and sorted through hundreds of secure emails to upload Covid-19 lab results manually to the state’s digital dashboard — a system that often malfunctioned. Other employees desperately tried to work with labs — many of whom had not worked with the state previously — to walk them through the process of sending results electronically.

When the data came in, state employees routinely found errors — instances where a person was counted twice or two people with the same name were identified as a single patient.

Meanwhile, in an old shopping mall on the other side of town, hundreds of volunteers sat at desks with telephones and checklists. Their goal: contact as many infected people as possible. But they couldn’t keep up. From the end of September to the end of December, individuals with Covid-19 monitored by the Oklahoma health department decreased by 65 percent while the number of positive cases increased by 205 percent, according to the findings of a state investigation.

“We had a homegrown, customized system for disease investigation that was not amenable to the case volume that we saw,” Taylor acknowledged. “We were just running in so many directions.”

In April, Taylor reported that his department had found 1,300 positive cases that had fallen into the “abyss.” Three weeks later, Taylor stepped aside.

Oklahoma’s struggle is America’s.


"Tulsa will lay off police and firemen before we will cut back on unnecessarily wasteful streetlights."  -- March 18, 2009 TulsaNow Forum
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