Despite a spike in cases, Norman Mayor Breea Clark is moving forward with the city's Phase 2 of her reopen Norman plan with a contact tracing program in place.
“While we did see a slight spike in the number of new cases, this was expected as we began reopening and I’m pleased to see that the number leveled back out,” Clark said. “Our partners at the Cleveland County Health Department, the University of Oklahoma, and the Chickasaw Nation are all working together to track new cases and ensure that we can continue to safely re-open our community safely. The slight uptick in cases reminds us that this virus is still here and we need to be vigilant in washing our hands, social distancing and wearing facial coverings.”
A three-day rolling average of new positive cases showed a slight uptick last week. An average of 3.3 cases jumped on May 23 from 1.3 the day before but by May 27 and 28 it dropped to 1 case.
In the last two weeks county health departments, including the Cleveland County Health Department (CCHD) have partnered with the Oklahoma National Guard to boost staff for contact tracing.
Cleveland County Health Department spokeswoman Sarah King said as soon the CCHD is notified of a positive case, contact tracers begin to track anyone who has been exposed to an infected person within the last two weeks.
“We have people working on this seven days a week,” King said. “We have 11 National Guardsmen and 55 nurses in our district able to assist with contact tracing as well. We've been working with community partners who have designated teams for contact tracing assistance.”
Norman Regional Health System did not respond by press time for information on its contact tracing efforts.
Phase 2 of the reopening plan will allow businesses and public facilities to open or enact relaxed guidelines.
Community pools will open provided sanitation protocols are followed and overall capacity at any given time is limited to 50% of the maximum. Gyms which could not comply with social distancing are allowed to open if employees wear face coverings or mask group size is limited to the maximum extent possible.
Summer camps will open provided sanitation protocols are followed and employees wear masks. Bars can open provided sanitation protocols are met, standing room only areas are limited by 50% of the maximum capacity, and employees are provided masks.
Retail stores can increase capacity to 75% of their maximum occupancy.
Clark urges the public to continue wearing face coverings, maximize physical distance from others when in public and avoid socializing in groups of more than 25 people. Residents over 65 or part of a vulnerable population are encouraged to continue following safer-at-home guidelines.
Phase 3 is scheduled to go into effect on June 12.