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Oklahoma Sets New High in Average for 3rd Day in a Row as Total COVID Cases Break 80,000

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 1,089 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 80,161.

Tulsa County had 156 of Wednesday's cases. Its total now stands at 16,363. Oklahoma County became the first in the state to break 17,000 cases, adding 174 to push its total to 17,135.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, rose from 1,108 to 1,125, a new high for the third day in a row. The average has now increased 11 straight days and is up 343 in that time.

The state's seven-day average hit 1,093 on Aug. 1, before the state started including positive antigen tests in its case totals. The average had fallen to 645 by late August.

Tulsa County's seven-day average rose from 121 to 128.

"When you look at the population-based prevalence of COVID-19, the new cases in the state, there’s a real growth in rural communities with the larger metropolitan areas having slower growth of new cases," said OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler, noting growing outbreaks in state prisons.

The state health department reported eight deaths, with one in the past 24 hours. Two adults between 50 and 64 years old died. Six adults 65 or older died, including a Tulsa County man and woman. Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 970 Oklahomans, 155 of them in Tulsa County.

There were 612 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday, 16 fewer than on Monday. Of those hospitalized Tuesday, 546 had positive coronavirus tests. Overall, 226 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 were in intensive care units, 18 fewer than on Monday.

While younger Oklahomans are less likely to be hospitalized than older ones, those who do end up in the hospital commonly require intensive care. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on more than 3,000 18- to 34-year-old COVID patients nationwide found 21% end up in an intensive care unit, 10% require a ventilator and 2.7% die.

The review also found health conditions that can increase young adults' risk of serious illness.

"The primary ones were obesity and high blood pressure. That combination, obesity, high blood pressure — and if you add in diabetes — those young people had as much risk as older patients for the complications of COVID-19," Bratzler said.

The Tulsa Health Department reported 245 residents hospitalized as of Tuesday, down from a high of 251 on Sunday. Local hospitalization numbers change frequently based on new data. Tulsa County hospitalizations have been trending up overall since the first week of June.

Over the course of the pandemic, 6,057 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, the state reported 18% of its adult ICU beds were available.

The state health department reported an additional 1,297 patients as recovered on Wednesday, bringing the total to 66,779. Patients are considered to have recovered if they did not die, are not currently hospitalized and it has been at least 14 days since their symptoms began. Symptoms have been reported to linger for several weeks for some individuals.

The state has 12,412 active cases of COVID-19, 216 fewer than the day before, when the state set a new high for a second straight day.

Tulsa County reported 199 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 14,761. The county has 1,447 active cases, 41 fewer than the day before.

The state's reported overall positive test rate remained at 8.1%. Out of 12,755 tests reported on Tuesday, 7% were positive. Each positive test does not necessarily represent a unique individual.

The state has also started reporting its cumulative positive test rate, a metric used by Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. It is calculated by dividing the number of cases by the number of negative tests plus the number of cases. As of Tuesday, that rate was 7.1%.

Johns Hopkins uses the different rate to compare states that may track testing differently. It notes the ideal way to calculate the positivity rate is dividing the number of people who test positive by the number of people who are tested, which is how Oklahoma's overall rate is calculated.

The World Health Organization's benchmark indicating adequate testing is a 5% positive test rate.

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