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COVID Update: 7-Day Average Dips Below 500, But County Risk Levels Unchanged Overall


The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 422 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 431,366.

Tulsa County had 58 of Friday's cases. Its total now stands at 71,839, second to Oklahoma County's 82,412.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 615 to 544. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. It has remained under 1,000 since Feb. 19.

Tulsa County's seven-day average fell from 79 to 73. The record is 647, set Jan. 9. It has remained below 100 since March 4.

The state health department has started reporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's provisional death count in its daily updates. That count is based on death certificates entered into a vital statistics system and is updated on weekdays. As of Friday, the CDC counted 7,486 Oklahomans dead from COVID-19, an increase of 53 from Thursday. The CDC places 1,789 of those deaths in Tulsa County, up 83 from last week. County-level data is updated weekly.

The state is still carrying out its own investigations of COVID-19 deaths. The state-confirmed total is currently 4,701, with 746 in Tulsa County.

There were 291 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Thursday evening, three more than on Wednesday. The highest number so far was 1,994 hospitalized on Jan. 5. There were 70 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Wednesday, 15 fewer than on Tuesday. KWGS is basing hospitalization and ICU bed numbers on the total across all types of facilities. The state changed to reporting just acute care hospitals but still gives numbers for focus, rehabilitation and tribal facilities.

Over the course of the pandemic, 24,595 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 66 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of Thursday evening, two fewer than on Wednesday. The state's reporting change does not affect regional numbers.

As of Thursday, the state reported 18% of adult ICU beds and 16% of medical surgery beds available across all facility types. Also as of Thursday, all of the state's hospital regions were at tier one of a four-tier hospital surge plan, meaning less than 15% of patients have tested positive for COVID for at least three consecutive days. Only the southwest and OKC regions are above 5%.

The state health department reported 501 additional patients as recovered on Friday, bringing the total to 415,067. 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 11,598 active cases of COVID-19, 79 fewer than the day before. The record is 43,163, set Jan. 11. Despite the change in death reporting, active cases are being reported as total cases less patients considered recovered and deaths confirmed by the state health department.

Tulsa County reported 86 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 69,857. The county has 1,236 active cases, 28 fewer than the day before. The record is 6,731, set Jan. 11.

The state's reported overall positive test rate was 10.9% on Thursday, unchanged from Wednesday. Out of 7,402 tests reported on Thursday, 3.4% 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 Thursday, that rate was 11.9%, unchanged from Wednesday.

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.

There are 28 counties at the orange level on the state's COVID alert map, indicating the highest risk of transmission. That number is the same as last week. There are 48 counties, including Tulsa County, at the yellow level, up one from last week. Harmon County is at the green risk level.

Tulsa County's rate of new cases per 100,000 population fell 13.5% this week, going from 14.1 to 12.2. The highest rate of new cases was in Beaver County, which had a new case rate of 26.9, up 149.1% from last week.

The orange level starts at 14.3 new cases per 100,000. Regardless of transmission rates, counties are not classified at red, the alert map's highest level, unless COVID patients account for 40% of the staffed acute care hospital beds in that county's state hospital region.

Just 20 counties have not yet hit 10% of their population testing positive for the coronavirus. Alfalfa County leads the state with 20.2% of residents testing positive to date. It's the only county so far to break the 20% level.

In Tulsa County, 11% of residents have tested positive to date.

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