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Tulsa County Nearing 6% of Residents Infected by Coronavirus, 10% Within Reach Before Vaccines

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By week’s end, 6% of Tulsa County residents — more than 39,000 people — will have been infected with the coronavirus sometime since March.

That’s according to Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart, who spoke a City of Tulsa COVID-19 update Wednesday. Dart said without significant increases in people following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines like wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, 10% of county residents being infected before vaccines are widely available is not out of the question.

"These are the only tools that we truly have to mitigate spread and prevent transmission, and if we would all agree to come together and follow these recommendations, I think we wouldn’t be having conversations about do we meet 10%, 12% or whatever," Dart said.

Dart is also urging people to rethink their holiday celebrations.

Another troubling statistic: COVID-19 is currently the county’s seventh-leading cause of death.

"This is incredibly concerning since we have less than 12 months’ worth of COVID-19 death data. So, more than likely, that metric will be higher. If this trend continues, it’s on track to be the No. 6 cause of death in our county before the end of the year," Dart said.

Dart said 28% of test samples THD collected last week came back positive, and they collected their most ever last Friday. For all of November, the positivity rate was 23%.

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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