COVID Update: Transmission Trending Down, But 4 In 5 Counties At Highest Risk Of Spread

Feb 19, 2021

Credit Oklahoma State Department of Health

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 869 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 417,345.

Tulsa County had 286 of Friday's cases. Its total now stands at 69,600, second to Oklahoma County's 79,407.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 1,011 to 932, its first time below 1,000 since Oct. 5 and its lowest level since Sept. 17. Testing, however, has declined significantly during winter storms. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13.

Tulsa County's seven-day average rose from 198 to 206. The record is 647, set Jan. 9. Oct. 29 was the last time the seven-day average was below 100.

The state reported 20 deaths. When the deaths occurred was not immediately reported. A Tulsa County man 65 or older was among the deaths reported Friday.

Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 4,132 Oklahomans, 668 of them Tulsa County residents. The state has reported an average of 24.7 deaths the past seven days.

There were 728 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Thursday evening, 44 fewer than on Wednesday. The highest number so far was 1,994 hospitalized on Jan. 5. There were 214 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Thursday, 16 fewer than on Wednesday. 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.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 155 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of Thursday evening, nine fewer than on Wednesday. The state's reporting change does not affect regional numbers.

Over the course of the pandemic, 23,537 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Thursday, the state reported 10% of adult ICU beds and 14% of medical surgery beds available across all facility types. Also as of Thursday, the OKC region was at tier two of a four-tier hospital surge plan, meaning 15% to 20% of patients tested positive for COVID-19 for at least three consecutive days. After 21% of patients on Tuesday and Wednesday testing positive for the illness, 19% were positive on Thursday. All other regions are at tier one.

The state health department reported 1,768 additional patients as recovered on Friday, bringing the total to 396,736. 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 16,477 active cases of COVID-19, 919 fewer than the day before. The record is 43,163, set Jan. 11.

Tulsa County reported 439 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 66,575. The county has 2,357 active cases, 154 fewer than the day before. The record is 6,731, set Jan. 11.

The state's reported overall positive test rate was 11.2%, on Thursday, unchanged from the past two days. Out of 5,083 tests reported on Thursday, 6.6% were positive. Testing has been suppressed this week; the number of tests reported Wednesday was the lowest daily total since late June. 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 Thursday, that rate was 12.2%, unchanged for two weeks.

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.

There are 62 counties at the orange level on the state's COVID alert map, indicating the highest risk of transmission. That's down 12 from last week. Alfalfa, Beckham, Cimarron, Craig, Dewey, Harper, Latimer, Logan, Love, Major, Okfuskeee, Pushmataha, Woods and Woodward counties are at the yellow level. Roger Mills is at the green level for a second straight week.

Tulsa County's rate of new cases per 100,000 population fell 41.7% this week, going from 52.1 to 30.4. The highest rate of new cases was in Pawnee County, which had a new case rate of 94.2, up 77.1% from last week.

The orange level starts at 14.3 new cases per 100,000. No county has a new case rate 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 acute care hospital beds in that county's state hospital region.

Just 22 counties have not yet hit 10% of their population testing positive for the coronavirus. Alfalfa County leads the state with 19.9% of residents testing positive to date.