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OK virus death averages mark grim level, Madill announces school delay

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

One southern Oklahoma school has pushed back the beginning of classes as new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise at alarming rates. Madill Public Schools announced that school would begin on Aug. 20 to give staff more time to adjust to school protocols during an ongoing pandemic.

The announcement comes the same day that 1,117 new cases of the disease and 13 disease-related deaths were confirmed in Oklahoma. More than 35,700 cases have been confirmed in the state since March and 536 Oklahomans have died because of the disease.

WIth nearly 60 virus-related deaths reported in a week, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 deaths rose above eight for the first time on Thursday.

Only 83 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Marshall County, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, but most of those cases have been recorded since the statewide surge started in June. On Thursday, Madill Public Schools announced that the decision to delay school was based on multiple factors.

“Primarily, the more time we give our staff to become more comfortable with new COVID safety procedures and the new learning management system, the more successful the school year will be,” read the Thursday post to the school district’s Facebook page.

“Delaying the start of school will also allow us to monitor the number of positive cases and the levels of community spread.”

Carter County recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, putting the county total at 285. With only seven new recoveries recorded, the number of presumably active cases in the county rose to 54 on Thursday.

Carter County recorded another eight cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, which sent the seven-day average of new cases near seven. Almost 68% of all COVID-19 cases in Carter County have been confirmed in July.

Wilson has recorded seven new cases in the past week, effectively doubling the number of cases in that town in the span. Only three additional recoveries have been recorded in that time.

Statewide hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 remain near record highs as nearly 650 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide on Thursday. An average of 72 new hospitalizations have been recorded each day for the past seven days.

New daily hospitalizations on Thursday was among the lowest seen in a week but kept the seven-day average at levels more than seven times higher than before the case surge that started in June.

With 13 new virus-related deaths reported statewide on Thursday, the seven-day average of new deaths rose to its highest level during the pandemic. Since July 1, 149 Oklahomans have died due to COVID-19. Only April has recorded more monthly deaths in Oklahoma, when 199 were linked to the novel coronavirus.