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June on pace to record more than 5,000 new virus cases in Oklahoma

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite
Total conformed cases crossed 10,000 Saturday and continued to outpace recoveries.

Oklahoma’s top health official reiterates “the virus is still here” as reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Total confirmed cases crossed 10,000 Saturday as new hospitalizations also climbed.

Interim Executive Director for the Oklahoma State Department of Health Dr. Lance Frye said the health care system and general public must stay vigilant as a new normal is learned. “As we have expected, our state is experiencing increased positive cases since reopening,” he said in a Friday statement.

New daily confirmed cases in Oklahoma remained well below 200 for weeks until June. Three straight days between Thursday and Saturday have each recorded more than 300 new positive test results.

Saturday marked the third straight day with more than 300 new confirmed cases in Oklahoma. The recent surge, that started June 12, has resulted in 24% of all confirmed cases and began about two weeks after the final phase of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s reopening plan. 

“As Gov. Stitt has said many times before, the virus is still here,” Frye said.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 66 positive test results have been confirmed in Carter County since March. Gene Autry recorded its first confirmed case on Saturday.

Carter County recorded three new cases and two new recoveries Saturday, bringing the number of confirmed cases not deceased or recovered to nine. Ardmore recorded two cases and both reported recoveries, and Gene Autry has recorded its first confirmed positive test result.

New daily hospitalizations statewide climbed this week as nearly 200 people were listed in the hospital on Saturday, according to OSDH data. Nearly 120 new hospitalizations were recorded between June 14 and June 20, with 37 new hospitalizations statewide recorded on Thursday alone. Only two days have seen more hospitalizations in a single day.

At least 20 new hospitalization have been recorded each day since June 18, when 37 new hospitalizations were recorded. Only two days have seen more new hospitalizations.

Statewide testing has remained at about 30,000 specimens per week, down from a peak 37,000 weekly test results reported in May but still twice as high as mid-April numbers. The percent of tests returning positive for the novel coronavirus fell below 2% during the final week of May but jumped to over 6% between June 14 and June 20. 

Slightly more than 3,000 cases were confirmed in April, and June had already recorded 3,531 by Saturday. June is currently on pace to record more than 5,000 new confirmed cases in the month and send the state’s cumulative total near 12,000 by July 1. 

The number of confirmed cases not deceased or recovered climbed for a 16th day Saturday to 2,255. Current hospitalizations also jumped to 197 Saturday, returning to levels not seen since May 21.

Health officials continue to urge residents to stay home if they feel sick or experience any COVID-19 symptoms. If attending large public gatherings, OSDH urges people to plan in advance to seek out testing before and after. Face coverings, hand sanitizer, and social distancing of at least six feet from others are also strongly recommended.