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COVID Reinfections Have Jumped 300% Since May

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is now tracking people who catch COVID a second time. 


OSDH considers a case a reinfection if it comes at least 90 days after the first one. 


The latest state epidemiology report shows the coronavirus has reinfected almost 4,700 vaccinated and unvaccinated Oklahomans so far this month, and reinfections have risen more than 300% since May. 


Dr. Jennifer Clark who is part of OSU’s Project ECHO says the Delta variant is responsible for the big rise in repeat cases.


“You can see how much that has jumped during the Delta surge,” said Clark.


Continuing to track the numbers may lead to more answers about natural immunity after a person has COVID, especially as we move through more stages in the pandemic.


“It’s just another trend line that we can watch to kind of see these kind of endemic pop-ups as we move into that state throughout the latter part of the acute pandemic,” said Clark. 


The report also shows breakthrough infections for fully vaccinated people have jumped from 503 in May to more than 9,400 in September. 


While the number of reinfections is lower, the rate of repeat cases is double the rate of breakthrough infections.


Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.