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Oklahoma Virus Cases Again Top 1,000, Daily Average At 875

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of reported coronavirus cases in Oklahoma topped 1,000 for a second consecutive day Thursday and a doctor said he believes the number of active cases is likely as much as four times higher.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 1,581 new virus cases and 6,678 active cases, a day after reporting the number of cases has increased by 80% during the week ending July 17.

“The problem with that number (of active cases) is it reflects only those people who were sick enough or went and got a test done,” said OU Health Dr. Dale Bratzler.

Bratzler said Aaron Wendelboe, an epidemiologist at the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health, has estimated there are four to five people infected compared to each person who has tested positive.

“We may well have in Oklahoma 20,000 or 25,000 people who are out there, potentially infectious that could spread the disease,” according to Bratzler.

The health department reported the seven-day average number of cases has more than tripled in less than a month, from 213 on July 1 to 875 on Thursday.

There were 4,840 new cases for the week ending Saturday, the health department said in its weekly report late Wednesday, up from 2,688 from the week ending July 14.

Bratzler said the increase is likely due to the highly contagious delta variant of the virus moving into the state from Missouri and Arkansas as the number of virus cases nationwide has tripled in the past two weeks.

Oklahoma ranks 10th in the nation with 221.3 new cases per 100,000 population, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Bratzler said vaccinations and mask wearing are the key to slowing the current virus surge. He said masks are important even for people who are fully vaccinated because they can suffer a breakthrough case.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 46.4% of Oklahomans have received at least one dose of the virus vaccine and 39.6% are fully vaccinated compared to 56.3% with one dose nationwide and 48.8% fully vaccinated.

There were 441 people statewide hospitalized with the virus, according to the health department, with about 90% of those unvaccinated, health officials have said.

The number of hospitalizations topped 400 earlier this week for the first time since early June.

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