Oklahoma is nearing a milestone: 10% of the state’s population infected by the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
But the actual total could be much higher.
Experts are concerned that COVID-19 testing is dropping off in the state, making the pandemic harder to track. Project ECHO faculty member Dr. Jennifer Clark said current test numbers are less than one-third of what they need to be for the state to effectively play defense against the spread of the coronavirus by tracking and isolating positive cases, and she added many more Oklahomans may have had COVID at this point than the current 9.5% with confirmed cases.
"You know, we’re roughly around that 15,000 per day mark, and we need to be markedly higher than that, you know. Because it looks like we’ve got roughly — based on antibody tests — 32% of our population is infected right now," Clark said.
Out of more than 1,700 antibody tests done Jan. 1–7, 32.6% came back positive. The tests can be used as a rough estimate for total infections.
While testing is declining, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths keep rising.
"Where’s the peak of this thing going to be? It’s unclear right now. Some of the epidemiologists that are doing some projections are saying now the peak has shifted back to the latter part of January, early February. It’ll be dependent upon how many people get sick along with those that are immunized," Clark said.