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COVID Update: 7-Day Averages Remain Near Records with Almost 3,000 New Cases

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Updated Dec. 18, 12:25 p.m. with Thursday's number of active cases in Tulsa County.  

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Thursday 2,975 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 248,204.

Tulsa County had 439 of Thursday's cases. Its total now stands at 41,196, second to Oklahoma County's 51,120.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, remains near record levels, climbing from 3,177 to 3,250. The average has held relatively steady since Dec. 6. 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 dropped slightly, going from 471 to 468. Since the county's seven-day average first broke 400 on Nov. 16, it has dipped below that on just four days. The record of 498 was set Dec. 4.

The state reported 16 deaths. Two Tulsa County women and one man 65 or older were reported dead. Statewide, three Oklahoma County men 50 to 64 years old and 10 more adults 65 or older were also reported dead.

Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 2,144 Oklahomans, 331 of them Tulsa County residents. The state has reported an average of 23.4 deaths the past seven days.

The state changed its hospital reporting on Tuesday and is now only giving the number of patients with a positive COVID test. Admitted patients suspected of having COVID-19 were previously included in the total. There were 1,699 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Wednesday evening, 18 fewer than on Tuesday. There were 1,741 Oklahomans considered hospitalized for COVID-19 on Monday evening; 1,687 had positive coronavirus tests. There were 481 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Wednesday, unchanged from Tuesday.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 410 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of Wednesday evening, 14 fewer than on Tuesday.

Over the course of the pandemic, 14,821 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Wednesday, the state reported 4% of its adult ICU beds and 12% of its medical surgery beds were available. Also as of Wednesday, 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. The OKC and northeast regions have seen two days with 36% to 37% of patients with COVID. Only the east central region remains in tier one.

The state health department reported 3,383 additional patients as recovered on Thursday, bringing the total to 214,290. 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 31,770 active cases of COVID-19, 424 fewer than Wednesday. The record of 35,163 was set Monday.

Tulsa County reported 552 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 35,949. The county has 4,916 active cases, 116 fewer than on Wednesday. The record is 5,426, set on Monday.

Due to technical difficulties, updated testing figures were not reported Wednesday. The state's reported overall positive test rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 10.2% on Tuesday. Out of 7,866 tests reported on Tuesday, 19.3% 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 10.1%, up 0.1 percentage points 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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