Oklahoma’s COVID-19 spike continues to worsen.
The state’s per-capita rate of new cases, test positivity rate, new hospital admissions and vaccination rate all remain among the bottom 10 states or worse. The state’s current seven-day average of more than 2,100 new cases is as high as it’s been since early November, as the state rocketed into a three-month winter surge before vaccinations became widely available.
"And we're just opening schools this week. So, I don't think we're at our peak at all at this point because I think most of us expect that as schools reopen, as kids come together — particularly if they're unvaccinated — that we will see an increase in the case numbers over the next week, 10 days or two weeks," said OU Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler.
More than 19,000 Oklahomans are considered to have active coronavirus infections, and all but two counties in the state have substantial or high transmission of the virus, according to the latest CDC data.
Bratzler said it seems the only thing that could stop the current surge is if thousands of Oklahomans could somehow be fully vaccinated overnight.
"So, if you go out into public, particularly if you're in indoor settings or around a lot of people, I still strongly encourage you to wear a mask, both to protect yourself but I believe personal responsibility goes beyond doing what's best for you," Bratzler said.
According to the CDC, COVID has killed more than 8,800 Oklahomans. Bratzler expects deaths to rise with a current jump in hospitalizations.
The state most recently reported a three-day average of 1,326 patients hospitalized for COVID across all facility types, including 360 people in intensive care units and 52 children hospitalized.