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Tulsa County Kids Account For More New COVID Cases, But Hospitalizations Down

Photo from World Health Organization

While COVID hospitalizations in Tulsa County are dropping, new cases remain stubbornly high, and who is testing positive has shifted.

Adults 18 to 35 years old continue to account for the largest proportion of new cases; last week, 30%. But adults 36 to 49 years old have fallen from the second- to the third-largest group.

"Children age 5 to 17 make up the second-largest age bracket, representing 23.5% of cases, and this is notable because within Tulsa County, those ages, 5 to 17, are only 18.1% of the total population. So, this age group is overrepresented in cases right now," said Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart.

The shift in who’s acquiring the most new infections comes just weeks after the start of the new school year.

"Schools continue to be the high-risk setting with the most cases," Dart said.

Kids 5 to 11 years old are still not eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Many local districts have implemented mask policies to help slow the spread of the virus.

While new cases of COVID-19 are not falling fast in Tulsa County, officials are seeing some encouraging signs. Last week, Tulsa County had 2,566 confirmed new cases. It was the second straight week of fewer cases since a summer peak of 2,900. But it was also the seventh week in a row with more than two-thousand new cases.

Hospitalizations, however, are noticeably going down. Tulsa County hit the peak of the current surge Aug. 16, with 27.9% of all hospital patients being diagnosed with COVID. That's now down to 16.6%.

"Now, that's still too high. Just to put this in context, back in June we were at 1%," said Mayor G.T. Bynum.

According to the latest available data, 71% of Tulsa County residents 12 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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