New Vaccines Helping Make the Light At the End of the Tunnel Shine Bright

Executive Director, Tulsa County Health Department 
Over the last several months, COVID-19 has affected all of us. It has drastically changed the way we go about our daily lives. It has created hardship for businesses. Worst of all, some of us have lost a loved one – and to those of you who have I offer my sincere condolences.  
2020 was a hard year for us all, but the unfortunate reality is we can’t leave this virus in the past just yet. 
Throughout November and December, cases increased consistently and exponentially. After the first one was announced in March of 2020, it took six months to reach 10,000 cases. In November alone, we had over 10,000 cases.  
When all is said and done, it is likely that COVID-19 will be 2020’s sixth-highest cause of death for Tulsa County residents. I say all this as a reminder that we cannot stop taking precautions. We all need to continue practicing the 3Ws – wear your mask, watch your distance and wash your hands – to slow the spread and lessen the strain on our healthcare system. 
Testing, quarantine and isolation remain critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. Completing the entire duration of your quarantine and isolation is vitally important. If you feel sick or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please seek testing. The Tulsa Health Department continues to be here for resources, information and testing. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment for testing, call us at 918-582-9355 or visit 
Safe and effective vaccines are being distributed in Oklahoma right now. These vaccines have gone through a rigorous scientific and regulatory process, and you should feel confident in them.  
I encourage all of you to receive it when it becomes available to you. While this is an important step, we know that it will take time until all Tulsa County residents can receive the vaccine, so we must stay the course and continue to practice the 3Ws.  
Together, the vaccine and other precautions will offer you the best protection from being infected with COVID-19. 
Thank you to all of you who are playing your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for sacrificing important life events and time in-person with your loved ones. I know many are tired, but the light at the end of the tunnel has never been brighter. 


About the Author 
Dr. Bruce Dart has served five local health departments in three states during his 36-year career in public health. Currently, he is the executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, a local public health agency of 340 team members. 
Dart serves in a leadership role as a member of several National Association of County and City Health Officials work committees and is a NACCHO past president and former board member and serves on the Public Health Accreditation Board’s Accreditation Review Committee. 
The recipient of numerous industry awards, he received his BA in Biology from Drury University in 1977, his MS in Administration (Health Services) from Central Michigan University in 1989 and his PhD in Health Services from Walden University in 2005. 

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