Task force officials said the number of positive COVID-19 cases are trending down.

Ward 1 Tahlequah City Councilor Bree Long said the Crisis Task Force was informed of the capacity status at both hospitals.

“I spoke with Cherokee Nation and they have stated that W.W. Hastings Hospital has adequate inpatient capacity and PPE stocks,” said Long. “The number of COVID-19 admissions has decreased from surge capacity.”

Additionally, Long stated cases continue to decrease across the state and the U.S.

“They are continuing to contract tracing and case investigations to isolate cases to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The major focus is on vaccination efforts to help protect our communities and to decrease the risk of spreading,” said Long.

Health officials are urging the public to continue mitigation procedures such as face coverings and social distancing.

“I spoke with Northeastern Health Systems, as well, and they reiterated some of the same sediments - that NHS is trending down on their positive patients. They have ample capacity and resources at their facilities. They’ve tested over 9,100 patients and, of those, 1,150 have been positive,” said Long.

As of Thursday, Feb. 18, vaccinations have been focused toward those 65 years of age and older. Phase 2 should be focused on teachers and school staff.

“There are 524 teachers in Cherokee County who have stated they would take the vaccine,” said Long. “The planning distribution will be innominate once it is authorized,” said Long.

Ward 4 City Councilor Trae Ratliff, head of the Economic Recovery Task Force team, said active cases of COVID-19 has decreased by 258 since December.

“That shows the trend, and our hopes are that this cold weather is keeping everybody at the house for this extra week is really going to compound the decrease and the decline that we have in numbers in the coming weeks,” said Ratliff.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has administered 447,323 vaccines, where Cherokee Nation is nearing 20,000 administered vaccines.

“There are more avenues to get vaccinated that is coming. It sounds like Mayor Sue Catron mentioned this morning in the meeting that Walmart is now scheduling vaccine appointments,” said Ratliff.

As of Friday, Feb. 19, the state had 16,477 active COVID-19 cases, with Cherokee County reporting 292 of those cases, with 39 deaths. Tahlequah has had a total of 208 currently active cases.

As of Feb. 19, Cherokee Nation Health Services had 14,716 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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