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Amid Nationwide Surge, Nearly All of Oklahoma's COVID Records Fall as State Adds 2,101 Cases

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 2,101 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 129,873.

Thursday's new case total broke the previous record of 1,829, set Oct. 24. Officials said the spike was partly due to reporting delays from last week's ice storm in central and western Oklahoma.

Tulsa County had 305 of Thursday's new cases, its most in one day since Oct. 9. Its total now stands at 23,656, second to Oklahoma County's 25,948.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, climbed for a fifth straight day, moving from 1,241 to a new record of 1,392. The previous record of 1,348 came on Oct. 25. The average has risen 371 over the past five days. Since Sept. 19, the seven-day average has been below 1,000 just two days.

Tulsa County's seven-day average rose for the seventh day in a row, jumping from 204 to 223, the highest it's been since Aug. 1. Tulsa County's average of new cases peaked at 254 in late July.

The state health department reported 21 deaths, with four in the past 24 hours. Two Tulsa County women age 65 or older were reported dead. Across the state, three adults between 50 and 64 years old, and 16 adults age 65 or older were also reported dead. Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 1,413 Oklahomans, 221 of them in Tulsa County.

There were 1,055 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 on Wednesday evening, 29 more than on Tuesday and a new high for the third straight day. Of those hospitalized Wednesday, 954 had positive coronavirus tests. Overall, 337 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 were in intensive care units, 12 fewer than Monday, which stands as the current record.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 243 residents hospitalized as of Wednesday evening, two more than on Tuesday.

Over the course of the pandemic, 9,338 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Wednesday, the state reported 7% of its adult ICU beds were available.

The state health department reported 1,242 additional patients as recovered on Thursday, bringing the total to 111,695. 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 16,765 active cases of COVID-19, 838 more than the day before. It's the first time the state has had more than 16,000 active cases, and Thursday's number broke the record of 15,948 that was set on Monday.

Tulsa County reported 160 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 20,839. The county has 2,596 active cases, 143 more than the day before and a new record for the fourth straight day.

The state's reported overall positive test rate remained at 8.4% on Wednesday. Out of 16,911 tests reported on Wednesday, 15.1% were positive. Each positive test does not necessarily represent a unique individual.

The state also reports 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 Wednesday, that rate was 7.6%, unchanged from Tuesday.

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.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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