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.
MORE FROM OKLAHOMA WATCH
Long Story Short: Proposed Rule Would Out Gay Students
Jennifer Palmer on proposed state education department rules. Paul Monies on Oklahoma’s delay in dispersing federal relief aid. Keaton Ross on felon voting rights.
These Oklahoma Communities Need Childcare. City Rules Could Make It Harder to Find
Half of Oklahoma residents live in what is defined as a childcare desert. State and local lawmakers are considering changes that could increase the availability of in-home childcare.
In Their Own Words: Oklahomans On Gender Identity Proposal in Schools
Dozens of people spoke at a hearing for public comment Friday, and hundreds more submitted written comments to the department. Here’s a sampling of the public comments.
Ratepayer or Shareholder Protection Act? Consumer Groups, Utilities Square Off on Pending Bill
A bill changing the way electric utilities get rate hikes got a quick committee hearing earlier this month at the Legislature. Regulators at the Corporation Commission held a longer hearing Monday featuring utilities and customer groups opposed to the bill.
Why Oklahoma is Still Sitting On COVID-19 Relief Funds
Oklahoma lawmakers spent last summer vetting hundreds of applications for funding from the latest round of federal coronavirus relief and allocated more than $1.6 billion in the fall. But some are frustrated with the executive branch’s slow pace of sending the money to agencies and other grantees.
When Are Voting Rights Restored in Oklahoma? Legislature Considers Clearing Up Confusion
An attorney general’s opinion issued last year settled questions on the voting rights of certain commutation recipients, but state statute remains vague on the matter.