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OSDH: Expect less frequent COVID data reports as virus becomes 'endemic'

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Interim state health commissioner Keith Reed addresses reporters at an Oklahoma State Department of Health virtual COVID briefing on Thursday.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said Thursday that residents should prepare to see less frequent data updates pertaining to COVID-19.

Officials cite a decline in new infections and hospitalizations, as well as new direction from federal partners.

"Changes to monitoring risk level data and not daily case counts isn’t just happening at local levels. CDC officials announced recently that this is the direction they are taking as they make some changes to data they monitor," the department said in a news release.

Interim state health commissioner Keith Reed told reporters Thursday the department had been signaling the change for weeks and that it should not cause alarm.

"We will continue to provide pretty granular-level data for Oklahomans," Reed said. "It's more about the frequency at which we're providing that."

"Each week, for example, we provide a weekly epidemiological report where we break down the data for the state. That is something we have every intention of continuing to do. So I can assure you and I can assure Oklahomans that we'll continue to provide Oklahoma-level data to them," Reed said.

Reed said COVID-19 was entering "endemic" rather than "pandemic" status, a distinction other states, including California, have made in recent weeks.

"We are at a much better position to coexist with COVID moving forward, and really I think we're in a position to take on this transition and do it successfully," Reed said.

The Tulsa Health Department also recently whittled down its COVID data reporting, citing the same declines in cases and hospitalizations.