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COVID Update: New Cases Continue Slow Decline, Hospitalizations Up Slightly

Photo from World Health Organization

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 232 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 433,025.

Tulsa County had 34 of Tuesday's cases. Its total now stands at 72,039, second to Oklahoma County. At the time this story was published, the state health department had not updated Oklahoma County's total.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 519 to 513. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. It has remained under 1,000 since Feb. 19.

Tulsa County's seven-day average dropped from 61 to 57. 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 Tuesday, the CDC counted 7,568 Oklahomans dead from COVID-19, an increase of 13 from Monday. The CDC places 1,789 of those deaths in Tulsa County, up 83 from last week. County-level data is updated on Wednesdays.

The state is still carrying out its own investigations of COVID-19 deaths. The state-confirmed total is now 4,788, up 87 from Monday, with 761 in Tulsa County.

There were 277 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Monday evening, two more than on Friday. The highest number so far was 1,994 hospitalized on Jan. 5. There were 92 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Monday, 20 more than on Friday. 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, 24,711 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 65 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of Monday evening, two more than on Friday. The state's reporting change does not affect regional numbers.

As of Monday, the state reported 21% of adult ICU beds and 19% of medical surgery beds available across all facility types. Also as of Monday, 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 central and OKC regions are above 5%.

The state health department reported 377 additional patients as recovered on Tuesday, bringing the total to 416,604. 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 11,633 active cases of COVID-19, 232 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 64 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 70,089. The county has 1,189  active cases, 45 fewer than the day before. The record is 6,731, set Jan. 11.

The state's reported overall positive test rate was 10.8% on Monday, unchanged from Friday. Out of 27,245 tests reported on Monday, 9.4% 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 Monday, that rate was 11.8%, down 0.1 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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