Weekly test numbers grow slightly, rate of positive results nearly doubles in two weeks

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite
Oklahoma has recorded 11,948 cases of COVID-19, with 8,507 recoveries and 375 deaths. Of the 1,336 total hospitalizations, 277 are currently hospitalized.

Oklahoma is among several states recording record numbers of new COVID-19 cases in recent days. The 438 new cases recorded by the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Thursday sent the state’s virus total near 12,000. More than 360 new recoveries recorded Thursday broke the previous one-day record but continue to lag behind new cases each day.

Confirmed cases in Carter County have more than doubled in the past four weeks, bringing the total count to 80. The five cases recorded Thursday marked the eighth consecutive day of new confirmed cases.

Carter County recorded its 80th confirmed case of COVID-19 Thursday. One person died and another 59 have been listed as recovered.

“Our surge is not that much different than what we are seeing in the state,” send OSDH Regional Director Mendy Spohn in a Thursday email. “People are gathering for celebrations, family events and in worksites. Mask usage and monitoring of symptoms is still highly recommended,” she said.

About 4.5% of all coronavirus test results in Oklahoma have returned positive. Statewide testing surpassed 300,000 Thursday and nearly 23,000 tests have been reported by state health officials since June 21. More than 1,900 of those tests — nearly 8.4% —have returned positive for the virus.

Thursday recorded 438 new positive test results, the fourth highest one-day total recorded in Oklahoma. Almost half of all COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma have been recorded in June.

Between June 6 and June 13, less than 3.5% of Oklahoma specimens tested positive for the virus.

The World Health Organization recommends sufficient testing to the extent that 5% or fewer individuals who take tests have the virus, according to USA Today. With cases surging in states like Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona, "that is not because of an increase in testing," but an indicator that cases are spreading, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.

The seven-day average of daily returned test results jumped to about 6.800 Thursday, which is among the highest daily averages recorded. According to data from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Oklahoma ranks 29th in the country for testing efforts per capita. 

The nearly 6,800 test results reported Thursday sent the seven-day rolling average above 5,000 for the first since June 2.

The number of tests conducted in Carter County or southern Oklahoma remains unclear. Spohn said state health officials are working on a system to report testing data by district, but labs reporting results are not currently breaking down those results by location.

“Testing is available. Get tested if you are planning to interact with people in vulnerable categories or if you are around people who have been sick” Spohn said.

New hospitalizations fell to 17 Thursday, but 277 people remained hospitalized. Thursday marked ten days with more than ten new daily hospitalizations. More than 1,330 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Three additional deaths were recorded in Oklahoma County on Thursday, bringing the state’s coronavirus-related death toll to 375. The seven-day average of new daily deaths has remained above one per day since late March.

While average daily deaths remain low compared to the peak in April, health officials warn that young and healthy populations still pose a risk of transmitting the virus to at-risk populations.

“This makes sense as kids begin summer activities and school workouts.  While this group generally experiences less symptom complications, they have the potential to spread to parents or grandparents who are at higher risk of severe illness,” Spohn said.