Virus hospitalizations continue to mount, health officials release exposure guidance

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

The state health department wants Oklahomans to better understand exposure to COVID-19 as July sees average daily confirmations continue to rise. The guidance comes as coronavirus-related hospitalizations rose to a record high Thursday and Ardmore's hospital continues to treat COVID-19 patients.

Oklahoma has recorded 23,441 cases of COVID-19 since March 6, including 18,095 recoveries and 438 virus-related deaths. More than 2,200 hospitalizations have been recorded and 638 patients were in the hospital on Thursday because of the virus.

Oklahoma recorded 628 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, sending the total over 23,400 since March, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. In Carter County, six additional recoveries were recorded and no additional cases were reported. Six virus-related deaths were reported statewide Thursday, marking 11 consecutive days of at least one death in Oklahoma.

Multiple requests for information on Carter County’s recent cases, including whether they can be linked to a specific event or location, remained unanswered on Thursday afternoon. Additional requests for comment on state testing abilities and reporting methods also remained unanswered by press time.

Carter County has recorded 208 cases of COVID-19 since March 26. Nearly 160 recoveries have been recorded in the county and two deaths have been linked to the disease.

According to Thursday’s daily Situation Update from OSDH, quarantine guidelines have been released for people to better understand exposure to COVID-19. The one-page document outlines how and when the virus becomes transmissible, how to identify asymptomatic transmission, and what to do if close contact has been made with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“According to medical guidelines, a person is infectious 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms,” read the document. 

Further reading:View the Oklahoma State Department of Health guidance

While numbers reported by state health officials on Thursday showed fewer new cases, fewer new hospitalizations, and some of the newest recoveries all in one day, the seven-day average of new daily deaths continued an upward trend. More than 630 people were listed as hospitalized Thursday due to the coronavirus, which is a one-day record high count.

Six virus-related deaths reported Thursday sent the seven-day average of daily deaths trending upward. Nearly 440 Oklahoma deaths have been linked to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus

Seven patients were at Mercy Hospital Ardmore being treated for COVID-19, according to hospital spokesperson Nancy Corbett in a Thursday email. None of those patients were in any of the 13 ICU beds, unlike last week when two ICU beds were used for COVID-19 patients. 

According to data collected by the state health department, the availability of Oklahoma hospital beds has dropped slightly in the past week. For example, available adult ICU beds have fallen from 24% to 16%. 

While new hospitalizations have fallen from the record high reported on July 9, the 48 new virus-related hospitalizations recorded Thursday is still higher than the all but eight days since March.

In north Texas, some hospitals are beginning to ask for help in order to provide health care services that are being stressed due to COVID-19. In Grayson County, Texas, on Tuesday, hospitals were at nearly 94% capacity, according to the Herald Democrat in Sherman, Texas. Corbett said no patients from north Texas have been received at the Ardmore hospital.

HERALD DEMOCRAT:Coverage of north Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations

Robby Short contributed to this report.