Stillwater and Claremore were the latest hotspots to emerge in Oklahoma as hospitalizations reached new highs in the pandemic.
The number of cases reached 131,751 on Friday, with active cases at a new high of 17,095, according to the latest figures from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The total number of deaths hit 1,429, an increase of 8% from a week ago.
More than a week into the effects of an ice storm that ravaged central Oklahoma, the 7-day moving average of new daily cases hit 1,465, its highest point in the pandemic since the first case of coronavirus hit in March.
An analysis of ZIP code data from the health department showed big weekly increases in active cases in the Stillwater, Claremore, Owasso and Tulsa areas. Meanwhile, Yukon, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City and Edmond ZIP codes had the highest number of active cases.
Active COVID-19 Cases By ZIP code
The latest case numbers come after a week that saw the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state. Hospitalizations reached 1,055 on Wednesday, including 337 patients in intensive care units. The health department’s latest regional hospital report, released Thursday, put three of the state’s eight hospital regions into Tier 2, which triggers certain requirements for patient transfer and staffing within that region. The Oklahoma City region reached Tier 3, which cancels some surgeries to free up beds for COVID-19 patients.
Gov. Kevin Stitt continued to resist calls for a statewide mask mandate. The latest White House coronavirus report, dated Nov. 1, said the state should “focus testing to find the asymptomatic transmission. With cases and new hospital admissions at high levels, transmission must be reduced.” It said residents should always wear a mask in public settings and stop gatherings beyond the immediate household until cases and test positivity decrease significantly.
Meanwhile, a group of educators, public health officials and child welfare officials launched a campaign on Thursday for a statewide mask mandate for schools. In the summer, the State Board of Education voted 4-3 to leave the decision on masks to local school district as part of a package of COVID-19 safety precautions.
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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @pmonies.
MORE FROM OKLAHOMA WATCH
Prison communications companies Securus and GTL have been accused of charging inmates and families unreasonable fees for video calls, text messages and e-books.
More than 16,400 Oklahomans had active cases of coronavirus, a decline of 27% from a week ago.
As state officials and the medical community debate what to do next, here is a primer on some of the big questions surrounding the managed care debate.
Months after voters approved extending health insurance to 215,000 Oklahomans starting July 1, funding remains elusive.
Tests for E.coli, meningitis and salmonella are among those being outsourced, which will cause delays from 24 to 48 hours.
A Department of Corrections spokesperson said prison staff are providing blankets and warm clothing to prisoners at facilities with heating system issues.