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COVID Update: Hospitalizations, Infection Rate Remain High as 23 More Reported Dead

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Wednesday 2,307 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 222,993.

Tulsa County had 310 of Wednesday's cases. Its total now stands at 37,459, second to Oklahoma County's 45,918.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, dropped back below 3,000, falling from 3,029 to 2,950. The record is 3,387, set the day after Thanksgiving. Oct. 5 was the last time the seven-day average was below 1,000.

Tulsa County's seven-day average of new cases fell from 469 to 453. The record of 498 was set on Friday.

The state reported 23 deaths. Two Tulsa County men 65 or older were reported dead. Statewide, an Oklahoma County woman 18 to 35 years old, eight adults 50 to 64 years old and 12 adults 65 or older were also reported dead.

Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 1,945 Oklahomans, 292 of them Tulsa County residents. The state has reported an average of 19 deaths the past seven days.

There were 1,745 Oklahomas hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday evening, 47 more than on Monday and the second-most to date. Of those hospitalized Tuesday, 1,667 had positive coronavirus tests. Overall, 465 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 were in intensive care units, four fewer than on Monday.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 409 residents hospitalized as of Tuesday evening, nine more than on Monday. The record is 431, set Nov. 30.

Over the course of the pandemic, 13,634 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, the state reported 3% of its adult ICU beds were available, matching a record low, and 14% of its medical surgery beds were available. As of Tuesday, six of Oklahoma's eight hospital regions, including Tulsa and Oklahoma counties, are at tier three of a four-tier hospital surge plan, meaning 20% to 40% of patients have tested positive for COVID-19 for at least three consecutive days. Only the east central region remains in tier one.

The state health department reported 2,505 additional patients as recovered on Wednesday, bringing the total to 191,525. 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 29,523 active cases of COVID-19, 221 fewer than the day before. The record is 33,844, set Nov. 23.

Tulsa County reported 304 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 32,558. The county has 4,609 active cases, four more than the day before. The record is 5,078, set Nov. 23.

The state's reported overall positive test remained 9.9% on Tuesday. Out of 19,091 tests reported on Tuesday, 11.5% 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 Tuesday, that rate was 9.7%, unchanged from Monday.

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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