Oklahoma health departments extending COVID-19 testing hours

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MCALESTER, Okla. (KNWA/KFTA) — With COVID-19 testing in higher demand and increased cases over the last week, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said January 3 it is extending COVID-19 testing hours at local county health departments and will offer weekend availability at select locations.

On every Tuesday starting January 11, the Pittsburg County Health Department in McAlester will stay open an hour later until 6 p.m, according to a news release from the health department.

The schedule in District 9 fr weekend testing for the next two weeks can be seen below.

1/08/2022Durant10 a.m. to noon
1/08/2022McAlester1–3 p.m.
1/15/2022Idabel10 a.m. to noon
1/15/2022Poteau10 a.m. to noon

Patients must schedule an appointment ahead of time by using the department’s testing portal or by calling the local county health department.

The release says the department will post locations and times on local county health department Facebook pages when its Mobile Health Units are out in communities across the region.

“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,” said Jolianne Stone, Oklahoma state epidemiologist. “PCR test results are typically available within 24-48 hours and are highly encouraged for accurate testing.”

The release says PCR test results are reported to OSDH, automatically entering the result into the OSDHCI self-service case investigation system. The system allows Oklahomans to perform their own contact tracing through an automated process.

Public health workers are still available to assist as needed.

“Like other states, Oklahoma is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, however many other respiratory illnesses are occurring as well,” said Keith Reed, interim commissioner of health. “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.”

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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