OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), the Tulsa County Health Department (THD) and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) are moving away from universal case investigation and contact tracing to focus on a more strategic approach of outbreak investigations and targeted case investigations.
Transitioning away from these is something Oklahoma has been moving toward in many ways, as evident in the implementation of OSDHCI which is allowing our case investigators and epidemiologist to prioritize following-up on outbreaks or clusters, as well as individuals in high-risk settings after a positive COVID-19 result.
“Tools such as at-home testing kits, updated isolation and quarantine guidance, and the self-serve case investigation portal has provided Oklahomans the opportunity to be the driver of their own personal health and the health of their family and community,” said leaders from all three agencies. “Empowering Oklahomans with the most up to date recommendations and mitigation strategies has paved the way for autonomy and a more sustained public health system that is not reliant on universal case investigation and contact tracing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The community has a greater understanding of public health and the necessity of public health intervention and how to navigate those tools.”
This change isn’t unique to Oklahoma. Five national public health organizations issued guidance on Tuesday supporting the transition.
“It is appropriate for our public health agencies to transition our resources into more effective strategies to lessen the impact of COVID-19 by focusing surveillance and prevention efforts on the most severe outcomes of COVID-19: hospitalizations and deaths,” stated the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) along with several other agencies.
You can read the full, joint statement from national public health organizations here.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health.