New COVID Cases Down Dramatically, But Impact Of Winter Storm On Testing Not Yet Known

Feb 16, 2021

Credit National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Tuesday 508 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 414,780.

Tulsa County had 75 of Tuesday's cases. Its total now stands at 68,882, second to Oklahoma County's 79,138.

The new case reports were the lowest in several months, but it's unclear how much testing has dropped off amid a winter storm that's brought subzero temperatures and several inches of snow across the state. The state last reported test numbers Feb. 12.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, fell from 1,325 to 1,245. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. Oct. 5 was the last time the seven-day average was below 1,000.

Tulsa County's seven-day average fell from 222 to 203. 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. Three were Tulsa County residents: a woman and two men 65 or older. 

Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 4,061 Oklahomans, 654 of them Tulsa County residents. The state has reported an average of 27.3 deaths the past seven days.

There were 833 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Friday evening, the last time a census was reported. The highest number so far was 1,994 hospitalized on Jan. 5. There were 258 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Friday. 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 197 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of Friday evening. The state's reporting change does not affect regional numbers.

Over the course of the pandemic, 23,270 Oklahomans have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

As of Monday, the state reported 12% of adult ICU beds and 16% of medical surgery beds available across all facility types, down from Sunday. As of Friday, the OKC region was 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. The southwest region is currently at tier two. The Tulsa, central, northwest, southeast, northeast and east central regions are at tier one. The OKC region has dropped to 20% for one day.

The state health department reported 2,121 additional patients as recovered on Tuesday, bringing the total to 391,156. 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 19,563 active cases of COVID-19, 1,633 fewer than the day before. The record is 43,163, set Jan. 11.

Tulsa County reported 407 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 65,269. The county has 2,959 active cases, 335 fewer than the day before. The record is 6,731, set Jan. 11.

The state's reported overall positive test rate when last reported Friday was 11.3%, unchanged from Thursday. Out of 7,472 tests reported on Friday, 7.5% were positive. 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 Friday, that rate was 12.2%, unchanged for almost 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.