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Oklahoma Hits New High in COVID Hospitalizations; 22 More Dead

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Updated Dec. 22, 1:24 p.m.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 2,186 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 265,620.

Tulsa County had 333 of Tuesday's cases. Its total now stands at 44,433, second to Oklahoma County's 54,067.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, remains near record levels but dropped from 3,381 to 3,376. 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 for a third straight day, going from 600 to 601. Sunday was the first time the county's average went above 500.

The state reported 22 deaths. A Tulsa County woman 65 or older was reported dead. Statewide, a LeFlore County man 18 to 35 years old, a Garfield County man 36 to 49 years old, four adults 50 to 64 years old and 15 adults 65 or older were also reported dead.

Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 2,240 Oklahomans, 351 of them Tulsa County residents. The state has reported an average of 22 deaths the past seven days.

There were 1,759 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Monday evening, 55 more than on Friday and a new high. There were 481 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Monday, 26 more than on Friday and matching the all-time high reached Dec. 15 and 16. The state no longer reports hospitalized patients suspected of having COVID-19.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 403 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of  Monday evening, 11 more than on Friday.

Over the course of the pandemic, 15,404 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Monday, the state reported 7% of its adult ICU beds and 15% of its medical surgery beds were available. Also as of Monday, 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 several days in the past week with 35% of patients or more with COVID. The northwest region fell from tier three to two, and the east central region rose from tier one to tier two.

The state health department reported 3,519 additional patients as recovered on Monday, bringing the total to 228,191. 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 35,189 active cases of COVID-19, 1,355 fewer than Monday's record high.

Tulsa County reported 617 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 38,582. The county has 5,500 active cases, 285 fewer than Monday's record high.

The state's reported overall positive test rate rose 0.1 percentage points on Monday to 10.4%. Out of 61,388 tests reported on Monday, 14.4% 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 Monday, that rate was 10.5%, up 0.2 percentage points from Friday.

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.

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