Nearly 1,000 new virus cases recorded in Oklahoma Tuesday
Tuesday marked record daily COVID-19 numbers that included new daily confirmed cases, new recoveries and current hospitalizations. Even though a record 820 new recoveries were recorded by state health officials, new confirmations continue to outpace recoveries.
Oklahoma is among more than a dozen states adding new COVID-19 cases significantly faster than they did in the spring, according to a study by USA TODAY. Scientists continue to remind the public that face coverings, social distancing, hand washing and other precautions remain simple and effective ways to slow the spread of the virus.
Nearly 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Oklahoma on Tuesday, which shattered the previous one-day record set one week prior on June 7. The seven-day average of new daily confirmed virus cases also rose to 643 on Tuesday.
The continued surge in virus cases has multiple health experts urging Oklahomans to practice guidelines put forth to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Dr. Stephen Prescott, President of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, said face coverings have become a “hot-button issue for some” but maintains they are a simple way to protect others from a deadly virus.
“I feel like Oklahoma should be leading the way in this,” Prescott said in a Tuesday statement. “We talk so often about the Oklahoma Standard and its values of service, honor and kindness. Wearing a mask is all those things.”
Carter County recorded four new cases on Tuesday, bringing the county total to 186. A record 11 new recoveries were recorded, leaving 46 Carter County cases not recorded as deceased or recovered. New confirmed cases and new recoveries in the county are being recorded at nearly the same rate.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health also recorded 546 people hospitalized due to the coronavirus as of Tuesday, which is the highest one-day patient count recorded in the state. The 375 new virus-related hospitalizations recorded between July 8 and July 14 are the most of any seven-day period since the beginning of the pandemic in Oklahoma.
Dr. Eliza Chakravarty, an immunologist with OMRF, said studies after the 2003 SARS outbreak found mask wearing was more effective at preventing viral spread than washing hands 10 times per day. Mask wearing can also help people be more aware of social distancing, face touching and hand washing.
“Masks, traditionally, are put on people who are coughing or sneezing and might spread the virus to provide some containment. This is why doctors and nurses wear them when performing a procedure, to avoid infecting the vulnerable patient,” Chakravarty said.
Information from state health officials says people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic but adds that some spread might be possible before someone shows symptoms.
The U.S. has surpassed 3.3 million cases and 136,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 13.1 million cases and 574,000 deaths have been recorded. Prescott said it is not too late for Oklahoma to avoid becoming a national coronavirus hotspot.
“The recent spike is disappointing but not devastating,” Prescott said. “If we redouble our efforts and band together, Oklahomans can still prevent a massive outbreak in our communities, which will absolutely save lives.”