Pandemic guidance for schools updated, Oklahoma surpasses 60,000 virus cases

Michael D. Smith

State health and education officials have updated guidance for schools holding in-person learning. The updated guidance was released one day before Oklahoma surpassed 60,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday reported 60,118 confirmed coronavirus cases and 821 deaths, increases of 719 cases and 12 deaths from those reported Tuesday. 

Oklahoma has recorded 60,118 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 50,646 recoveries and 821 deaths linked to the disease. The number of people with COVID-19 not recorded as deceased or recovered rose slightly to 8,651 Wednesday.

The true number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

OSDH and the Oklahoma State Department of Education on Tuesday announced an update to the state’s Return to Learn guidance issued to public schools ahead of the academic year. The update mostly clarified isolation and quarantine, and better defined various responsibilities related to COVID-19 responses like reporting cases to local health departments.

“The Oklahoma Department of Health has been a tremendous partner with the Oklahoma State Department of Education and schools across the state as we move into a challenging new school year,” OSDE Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said on Tuesday. “This guidance is a critical tool for schools.”

The state health department reported 50,646 people have recovered from COVID-19 since March. The number of people not recorded as deceased or recovered rose to 8,651, the fourth consecutive day with more than 8,200 presumably active cases.

At least 545 Oklahomans were receiving hospital care for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Wednesday. The seven-day average of new daily hospitalizations fell for a fourth straight day but has remained above 50 since July 21. 

Carter County has recorded 417 people with COVID-19, after one new case was recorded Wednesday. After five confirmed cases were recorded as recovered Wednesday, presumably active cases in Carter County dropped to 38. 

Certer County has recorded 417 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 373 recoveris and six deaths linked to the disease. The number of cases not recorded as deceased or recovered fell to 38 Wednesday.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.