All of Oklahoma Remains at Highest-Level Risk of COVID Transmission as New Case Trends Keep Climbing

Nov 20, 2020

For the second straight week, all 77 Oklahoma counties are at the orange level on the state's COVID alert map, which indicates the highest risk of transmission.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 2,921 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 167,261.

Tulsa County had 460 of Friday's cases, its second-highest new case total to date. Tulsa County's total now stands at 28,966, second to Oklahoma County's 33,851.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, rose from 2,807 to 2,843, a new high for the third day in a row. Oct. 5 was the last time the seven-day average was below 1,000.

Tulsa County's seven-day average of new cases jumped from 394 to a new record of 415. The previous high of 405 was set Monday after the average climbed 253 over 18 straight reporting days.

The state reported 15 deaths, with none in the past 24 hours. Two Tulsa County women age 65 or older were reported dead. Statewide, two men between 36 and 49 years old, one man between 50 and 64 years old, and 10 other adults 65 or older were also reported dead. Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 1,603 Oklahomans, 248 of them Tulsa County residents.

There were 1,428 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 on Thursday evening, 47 more than on Wednesday. Of those hospitalized Thursday, 1,358 had positive coronavirus tests. Overall, 421 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 were in intensive care units, 32 more than on Wednesday.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 351 residents hospitalized as of Thursday evening, a record level unchanged from Wednesday.

Over the course of the pandemic, 11,020 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Thursday, the state reported 6% of its adult ICU beds and 14% of its medical surgery beds were available. Five of Oklahoma's eight hospital regions, including Oklahoma County, 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. Tulsa County is at tier two, with 15% to 20% of patients testing positive.

The state health department reported 2,666 additional patients as recovered on Friday, bringing the total to 134,934. 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 30,724 active cases of COVID-19, 240 more than the day before. It's a new record for the third straight day and the fourth time this week.

Tulsa County reported 319 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 23,987. The county has 4,731 active cases, 139 more than the day before and a new record for the third straight day and the fourth time this week.

The state's reported overall positive test rate remained at 9% on Thursday. Out of 15,419 tests reported on Thursday, 13.9% were positive. Each positive test does not necessarily represent a unique individual.

The state also reports 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 8.6%, 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.

All 77 of Oklahoma's counties are at the orange level on the state's COVID alert map for the second week in a row, indicating the highest risk of transmission.

Tulsa County's rate of new cases per 100,000 population rose 15.2% this week, going from 52.5 to 60.5. The highest rate of new cases was 268.1 in Alfalfa County, up 494.5% from last week. According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helena, which can hold nearly 1,200 inmates, has 84 men in isolation and 743 in quarantine because of COVID-19.

Several counties have new case rates over 100.

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 hospital beds in that county's state hospital region.