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State and Tulsa County Hit New Active Case Highs with Weekend Surge in COVID Cases

Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 9,078 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, including a new one-day record of 4,970 on Sunday.

The state has 260,838 total cases.

Tulsa County saw 1,857 new cases over the weekend. Its total now stands at 43,673, second to Oklahoma County's 53,080.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, remains near record levels and hit 3,310 on Sunday. 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 hit a new record on Sunday, jumping from 491 to 578. It's the first time the county's average has been above 500. The previous record of 498 was set Dec. 4.

The state reported 51 deaths over the weekend, 12 of them in Tulsa County. More information on the deaths was not made available. Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 2,212 Oklahomans, 350 of them Tulsa County residents. The state has reported an average of 21.1 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 1,704 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Friday evening, 29 fewer than Thursday's record number. When the state set its combined hospitalization record of 1,782 on Dec. 2, 1,673 of those patients had positive COVID tests. There were 455 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Friday, five fewer than on Thursday.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 392 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of Friday evening, seven fewer than on Thursday.

Over the course of the pandemic, 15,309 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Saturday, the state reported 4% of its adult ICU beds and 14% of its medical surgery beds were available. As of Friday, seven 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 four days with 36% to 37% of patients with COVID. Only the east central region remains in tier one.

The state health department reported 5,340 additional patients as recovered over the weekend, bringing the total to 222,874. 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 35,752 active cases of COVID-19, a new record, after gaining 3,687 over the weekend. The old record of 35,163 was set Monday.

Tulsa County reported 1,176 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 37,736. The county has a new record of 5,587 active cases after adding 669 over the weekend. The old record was 5,426, set on Monday.

The state's reported overall positive test rate rose 0.1 percentage points on Friday to 10.3%. Out of 8,364 tests reported on Friday, 21.6% 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 Friday, that rate was 10.3%, up 0.1 percentage points from Thursday.

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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