New COVID Hospitalization and Active Case Records Set Again, 13 More Oklahomans Dead

Oct 23, 2020

Credit National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Updated Oct. 23, 12:40 p.m. to correct county with highest rate of new cases.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 1,373 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 113,856.

Tulsa County had 206 of Friday's new cases. Its total now stands at 21,239, second to Oklahoma County's 22,816.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, declined slightly from a new high of 1,235 to 1,221. The average had not been above 1,200 until this week. Since Sept. 19, the seven-day average has been below 1,000 just two days.

Tulsa County's seven-day average dropped from 164 to 162. Tulsa County's average of new cases briefly surpassed 200 last week, the first time it had done so since Aug. 10.

The state health department reported 13 deaths, with two in the past 24 hours. A Tulsa County man and woman 65 or older were reported dead. Statewide, one man 36 to 49 years old, one man 50 to 64 years old, and nine adults 65 or older were also reported dead. Since March 18, COVID-19 has officially killed 1,234 Oklahomans, 197 of them Tulsa County residents.

There were 956 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 on Thursday evening, 46 more than on Wednesday. Thursday's hospitalizations set a new record for the third straight day, and the state has surpassed thresholds of 700, 800 and 900 hospitalizations in the month of October. Of those hospitalized Thursday, 873 had positive coronavirus tests. Overall, 313 Oklahomans hospitalized for COVID-19 were in intensive care units, 16 more than on Wednesday. The record for ICU admissions is 319, set on Monday.

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 272 residents hospitalized as of Thursday evening, 19 more than on Wednesday.

Over the course of the pandemic, 8,265 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19.

As of Thursday, the state reported 8% of its adult ICU beds were available.

The state health department reported 1,245 additional patients as recovered on Friday, bringing the total to 97,490. 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 15,132 active cases of COVID-19, 115 more than the day before and a new high for the fifth day in a row. Thursday was the first time more than 15,000 Oklahomans were considered to have active cases.

Tulsa County reported 196 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 18,715. The county has 2,327 active cases, eight more than the day before. Tulsa County's active case record is 2,371, set last Saturday.

The state's reported overall positive test rate remained at 8.2% on Thursday. Out of 21,493 tests reported on Thursday, 10.2% 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 7.4%, 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.

There are 75 of Oklahoma's 77 counties at the orange level on the state's COVID alert map this week, indicating the highest risk of transmission. That's up from 69 counties last week. Noble and Harmon counties are the only two at the yellow level.

Tulsa County's rate of new cases per 100,000 population fell 18% this week, dropping from 30.8 to 25.1. The highest rate of new cases was 123.9 in Okfuskee County, up 148% from last week.

Regardless of transmission rates, counties are not classified at red, the alert map's highest level, unless the statewide average of  personal protective equipment on hand is less than five days or fewer than 5% of ventilators are available. There are regional hospital capacity triggers for counties to be moved up a level as well, but those are now unclear because of the state's new hospital surge plan, which has not been released since it was announced on Tuesday.