SARS-CoV-2 Variants – P.1 Arrives in Oklahoma

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html

The map on the CDC website is interactive and will show different variants by state.

I don’t consider myself to be an alarmist. Truth be told I am pragmatic. And what I read and research about this nasty virus tells me this is no time to let our guard down. Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. In group settings or mingling amongst vaccination status unknowns wear a mask. Practice sensible hygiene. Don’t believe SARS-CoV-2/VOC’s is just an old person disease.

Meanwhile in Brazil…

By the way we have just one P.1 confirmed case in Oklahoma. Let’s together do what’s necessary to keep this number as low as possible.

Vaccination Lessons from Chick-fil-A

What if we partnered with this restaurant chain and opened drive-thru vaccination sites on Sundays leasing locations and staff?

A Ph.D. microbiologist and immunologist, Bauman understands the best experiments don’t start from scratch. So, he decided to emulate the most efficient, customer-focused operation he knew. He went to the Chick-fil-A drive-through in Norman and recorded the entire process. Then, he did his best to duplicate it (minus the waffle fries and dipping sauce).

“Once you come in, you should never stop in line — just like Chick-fil-A,” Bauman said. IMMY staff walked alongside each person who entered, checking them in with iPads as they guided them toward the ballroom where nurses gave shots. “The only time you should stop is when you put your butt in the seat to get the vaccine.”

Vaccination lessons from Chick-fil-A (hold the fries) – https://oklahoman.com/article/5682352/vaccination-lessons-from-chick-fil-a-hold-the-fries

E. coli Outbreak with Unknown Food Source – CDC

As of February 1, 2021, a total of 16 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 5 states. This map shows where sick people live.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 23, 2020, to January 7, 2021. This chart shows when people got sick. Recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to link illnesses to an outbreak.

Sick people range in age from 10 to 95 years, with a median age of 31, and 88% are female. Of 12 people with information available, 9 have been hospitalized. Of 11 people with information, 3 developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). One death has been reported from Washington.

Investigation Details — https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2021/o157h7-02-21/details.html

“Unknown food source” bothers me.

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties – Please Stand By

One question we see frequently – if you have a confirmation email, with a link taking you to a sign-up page, when all the appointments are full, should you expect an email telling you when they become available? The short answer, no.

Oklahoma Vaccine Portal problems persist as Oklahomans scramble to get a shot appointment — https://kfor.com/news/local/oklahoma-vaccine-portal-problems-persist-as-oklahomans-scramble-to-get-a-shot-appointment/

Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health said about 290,000 eligible Oklahomans are signed up on the scheduler portal. Plenty of people in the phase two distribution plan told 2 Works for You they are having issues scheduling a vaccination.

Senior citizens struggle with state COVID vaccine portal — https://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/senior-citizens-struggle-with-oklahoma-state-covid-vaccine-portal

Tulsa Health Department posted on Facebook saying, that due to technical difficulties, there is no way for eligible individuals in Tulsa County to sign up.

‘Technical difficulties’ halts OSDH’s vaccine scheduling portal in Tulsa — https://ktul.com/news/local/technical-difficulties-halts-osdhs-vaccine-scheduling-portal-in-tulsa

Friday 1/29

Today began like any other workday. Wake up, coffee, shower, get dressed, more coffee, make the bed, power up the computer. But this morning I did not turn my workstation on. I took the morning off to get my SARS-Cov-2 vaccination shot. Total estimated round trip drive time will be about 3 hours. We’re headed to a mall in Enid, OK (that’s nearly Kansas IMO). This is my vaccine story.

Like the rest of the world we’ve been pretty much cooped up for nearly a year. Getting out of the house for “essential” activities isn’t the same as getting out and doing things. The arrival of vaccines for this horrible virus was good news. This certainly doesn’t herald the end of The Great Pandemic but it’s a hell of a good start. Somehow I knew with governments at multiple points in the vaccination process you just know there will be problems. Keep this in mind and carry on.

The state of Oklahoma is presently in Phase 2 of a four phase rollout. When The Boss and I became eligible for a jab we started hearing nightmare stories about actually securing an appointment. I knew the hiccups at the beginning were due to vaccine supply. The supply side is still a problem but not nearly as big of a problem as the steps you must take to register and find some vaccine. OSDH (Oklahoma State Department of Health) is the agency that set up the state’s vaccine portal. A lifetime ago I managed technology for two different companies and I know what can go wrong with systems implementation. Here we had a website set up by a government agency rolled out to the public with zero instructions on how the process would work. What could go wrong?

Yup, “technical difficulties”.

After hearing horror stories of a crashed website and other “technical difficulties” I waited a few weeks before signing up on the site. When I signed up I immediately received an email telling me I was eligible to be vaccinated. The email contained a link to the appointment scheduler. And that’s when the fun began. No appointments. Nada. Zilch. The instructions on how to use the site were nowhere to be found. After some time clicking around I managed to figure out how the site worked. First come, first served. If you can’t get an appointment come back later and try again.

So I went back to work and left my personal computer up with the vaccine portal website up. Every now and then I turned around from my Day Job Workstation and checked to see if any appointment openings popped up. After several hours of intermittent checking a massive number of slots opened up at a single site, the Oakwood Mall in Enid Oklahoma. So I used the home office intercom and yelled rather loudly:

“Get on the site. It’s number 47. Take the 10:30 am slot and I’ll grab the 10:45. GO!!!”

We both got slots for shots on January 29th. I suspect our experience was a lot better and a lot more successful than for others around the country. In my next post I’ll describe a few of the reasons why Oklahoma is doing a decent job with their vaccine rollout. Decent not good. Keep this in mind too because we haven’t opened up the process to the general population yet.

PS. My worst side effect so far has been an illogical urge to buy a 12 string acoustic guitar. Strange but true.

Utter Chaos? No Just Your Normal Vaccine Rollout in a Pandemic

With the vaccine rollout left mostly up to states and counties, they have had to rapidly devise their own methods for distributing shots to their residents. Every state has its own priority system and way of scheduling appointments, which sometimes change week to week. The complicated logistics paired with inconsistent communication to the public has resulted in mass confusion. The result: People are spending hours seeking information and searching for coveted appointment slots.

‘Just utter chaos’: A Twitter thread offers a window into the frustrating search for Covid-19 shots — https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/28/just-utter-chaos-twitter-thread-offers-window-into-frustrating-search-for-covid19-shots/?utm_campaign=rss

Here in Oklahoma we’re in Phase 2 of the rollout and the process to get a Covid vaccination appointment in this state can best be described as incredibly difficult. We don’t have a huge number of residents here in flyover country and to be honest, that’s a good thing. I can’t imagine how difficult this process is in the more heavily populated areas of the country.

BTW I’m getting jabbed tomorrow.

Meanwhile in Oklahoma – Follow the Science

With a mask mandate in place since spring, free drive-through testing, hospitals well-stocked with PPE, and a small army of public health officers fully supported by their chief, the Cherokee Nation has been able to curtail its Covid-19 case and death rates even as those numbers surge in surrounding Oklahoma, where the White House coronavirus task force says spread is unyielding.

The Cherokee Nation, with about 140,000 citizens on its reservation in northeastern Oklahoma, has reported just over 4,000 cases and 33 deaths.

“It’s dire, but what in the world would it look like if we weren’t doing this work?’” said Lisa Pivec, senior director of public health for Cherokee Nation Health Services. Pivec leads a team that jumped into action in late February, holding coronavirus task force meetings twice a day, instituting procedures to screen thousands of employees, stockpiling PPE, protecting elders, ensuring food security, and educating residents in both English and Cherokee language. With no guidance on contact tracing available from the CDC early in the pandemic, Pivec researched the World Health Organization’s Ebola response to set up tracing protocols; after the first case appeared on the reservation March 24, she made many of the contact tracing calls herself.

‘They’ve been following the science’: How the Covid-19 pandemic has been curtailed in Cherokee Nation — https://www.statnews.com/2020/11/17/how-covid19-has-been-curtailed-in-cherokee-nation/

Take a few minutes and read the full article. You will be impressed as I was.