Oklahoma Down To 1 In 3 Counties At Highest Level Of COVID Infection Risk

Mar 5, 2021

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported on Friday 917 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 427,558.

Tulsa County had 102 of Friday's cases. Its total now stands at 71,329, second to Oklahoma County's 81,462.

The state's seven-day average of new cases, which shows the trend in infections, rose from 641 to 648. The record of 4,256 was set Jan. 13. It has remained under 1,000 since Feb. 19.

Tulsa County's seven-day average fell from 92 to 87, its lowest point since June 18. The record is 647, set Jan. 9.

The state health department has started reporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's provisional death count in its daily updates. That count is based on death certificates entered into a vital statistics system. As of Friday, the CDC counted 7,202 Oklahomans dead from COVID-19, an increase of 80 from Thursday. The CDC places 1,706 of those deaths in Tulsa County. County-level data is updated weekly.

There were 396 Oklahomans with positive COVID tests hospitalized on Thursday evening, 40 fewer than on Wednesday. The highest number so far was 1,994 hospitalized on Jan. 5. There were 113 COVID-positive Oklahomans in intensive care units on Thursday, eight 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.

Over the course of the pandemic, 24,156 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for COVID-19. 

According to the state health department, Tulsa County had 84 COVID-positive residents hospitalized as of Thursday evening, six fewer than on Wednesday. The state's reporting change does not affect regional numbers.

As of Thursday, the state reported 14% of adult ICU beds and 16% of medical surgery beds available across all facility types. Also as of Thursday, all of the state's hospital regions were at tier one of a four-tier hospital surge plan, meaning less than 15% of patients have tested positive for COVID for at least three consecutive days.

The state health department reported 1,050 additional patients as recovered on Friday, bringing the total to 410,778. 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 12,246 active cases of COVID-19, 133 fewer than the day before. The record is 43,163, set Jan. 11. With the change in death reporting, active cases are being reported as total cases less patients considered recovered.

Tulsa County reported 116 additional patients as recovered, bringing the total to 69,103. The county has 1,368 active cases, 33 fewer than the day before. The record is 6,731, set Jan. 11.

The state's reported overall positive test rate was 11% on Thursday, unchanged from Wednesday. Out of 9,046 tests reported on Thursday, 10.1% 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 Thursday, that rate was 12%, 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 28 counties at the orange level on the state's COVID alert map, indicating the highest risk of transmission. That's down 20 from last week. There are 47 counties at the yellow level, including Tulsa County. Harper and Jefferson counties are at the green risk level.

Tulsa County's rate of new cases per 100,000 population fell 49.3% this week, going from 27.8 to 14.1. The highest rate of new cases was in Cimarron County, which had a new case rate of 180.5, down 41.3% from last week.

The orange level starts at 14.3 new cases per 100,000. Only Cimarron 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 20 counties have not yet hit 10% of their population testing positive for the coronavirus. Alfalfa County leads the state with 20.2% of residents testing positive to date. It's the only county so far to break the 20% level.

In Tulsa County, 10.9% of residents have tested positive to date.