Oklahoma officials reported the state’s 600th COVID-19 death on Friday.
Over the past seven days, cases have increased by 5,274 as 58 deaths were added to the state’s total. That just tops last week’s record-breaking death toll, when 57 died due to the virus.
Several areas in the eastern part of the state had some of the biggest increases over the last week, according to an analysis of Oklahoma State Department of Health data.
ZIP codes in Heavener, McAlester, Broken Arrow and Tahlequah saw the largest increase in active cases (calculated by taking new cases and subtracting it by the number of deaths and recoveries) between July 31 and Thursday. (See interactive map below).
One ZIP code in Heaverner, which hadn’t seen any cases until Memorial Day, climbed from just five active cases to 39 over the seven-day period. The ZIP code that includes Broken Arrow’s Rose District, which has been one of the hardest hit in the state with 865 total cases, saw its active cases increase from 149 to 175 during this time.
COVID-19 cases in areas of Oklahoma City and Tulsa also continued to spike during the first week of August.
This includes a ZIP code just southwest of Will Rogers World Airport that has one of the highest per-capita rates of active cases in the state. With the addition of 14 active cases during the week, the 73169 zip code had 118 active cases for every 10,000 residents, as of Thursday.
Meanwhile, several previous hot spots have seen cases go down. This includes Altus, which recorded 88 fewer active cases than a week ago, and Lexington, which recorded 85 fewer active cases.
Despite the state seeing worsening conditions in cases, deaths and hospitalizations compared to earlier this summer, Gov. Kevin Stitt said during a press conference Thursday that “Oklahoma’s response to COVID-19 is being praised by the federal government” and being shown as “an example for other states.”
The governor’s comments a day after President Donald Trump announced Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, will visit Oklahoma and among other states to “deliver aggressive, tailored and targeted guidance.”
Stitt, who has pushed back against medical experts who have urged the state to adopt broader mask mandates or place new restrictions on businesses or large gatherings, said the state has done well in securing necessary hospital beds and medial equipment to handle hot spots and surges.
Health Commissioner Col. Lance Frye said the state’s models forecasts that hospitalizations, which have hovered in the 500s and 600s the past couple weeks, will likely continue to be in that range.
“With the number of hospitalizations, we are pretty stable right now,” he said. “If you’re looking at the number of cases, I think it’s a little to early to say (that they have plateaued).”
Paul Monies has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2017 and covers state agencies and public health. Contact him at (571) 319-3289 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @pmonies.