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COVID Hospitalizations Hit New High In Tulsa County

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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 1,497 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 308,268.

Tulsa County had 291 of those cases. Its total now stands at 50,910, second to Oklahoma County's 60,765.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, rose from 3,455 to 3,498. The record is 3,562, set on Sunday. The average had dipped to around 2,600 as reporting lagged around the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Oct. 5 was the last time the seven-day average was below 1,000.

Tulsa County's seven-day average dropped from a new record of 607 to 559. The old high of 601 was set Dec. 22. KWGS is calculating the county's seven-day average based on days with cases reported. The Tulsa Health Department officially recorded zero cases on Jan. 1, when the state did not report cases. The state has specified a number of cases that would have been reported Jan. 1.

The state reported 19 deaths on Tuesday. A Tulsa County man 65 or older was reported dead. Three adults 50 to 64 years old and 15 adults 65 or older were also reported dead statewide.

Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 2,571 Oklahomans. The state has reported an average of 23.7 deaths the past seven days.

There were 1,909 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Monday evening, 139 more than on Sunday. There were 488 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Monday, 10 fewer than when last reported on Thursday.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 443 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of  Monday evening, 24 more than on Thursday and a new high.

Over the course of the pandemic, 17,554 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Monday, the state reported 5% of its adult ICU beds and 13% of its medical surgery beds were available. Also as of Monday, seven of Oklahoma's eight hospital regions 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 northwest region fell from tier three to tier two after at least three consecutive days with 15% to 20% of patients with COVID. The OKC region has seen several days in the past week with 37% to 39% of patients with COVID.

The state health department reported 4,120 additional patients as recovered on Tuesday, bringing the total to 271,693. 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 34,004 active cases of COVID-19, 2,642 fewer than the previous day's record high.

Tulsa County reported 560 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 45,334. The county has 5,160 active cases, 270 fewer than the day before. The record is 5,785, set Dec. 21.

The state's reported overall positive test rate was 11% on Monday, up 0.1 percentage points from Thursday. Out of 43,411 tests reported on Monday, 18.9% were positive. Each positive test does not necessarily represent a unique individual.

The state used to report 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 11.2%, up 0.4 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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