Caution urged during Labor Day weekend to slow virus spread

Michael D. Smith
Oklahoma recorded a record high 9,597 presumably active cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.

State health officials have discouraged holiday weekend gatherings as the new coronavirus continues to spread across the state. For those going against advice and attending large gatherings, guidance suggests those people monitor themselves after potential exposure.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Saturday reported 63,187 confirmed coronavirus cases and 850 deaths, increases of 2,160 cases and 15 deaths from those reported Thursday. 

Saturday alone accounted for 1,147 new confirmed cases. Only three days during the pandemic in Oklahoma have recorded more new cases in a single day.

Oklahoma recorded 1,147 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. Only three days have recorded more new cases in a single day.

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.

A Friday situation update from OSDH urges caution during social gatherings over the Labor Day weekend. People who attend gatherings are asked to self monitor for 14 days after the event and seek testing between five and seven days after potential exposure.

“OSDH encourages Oklahomans who choose to participate in large gatherings or settings where people are in close contact to take precautions such as wearing a mask, practice social distancing and frequently wash hands,” read the Friday statement.

“Oklahoma’s current trend with new positive cases continues to reflect community transmission, which can be reduced by keeping 6 feet of physical distance from others, wearing face coverings when around individuals from outside the household, avoiding touching your face, and regular hand-washing,” according to the most recent OSDH Weekly Epidemiology Report.

County and state health departments will be closed on Monday in observance of Labor Day, and health officials will not be issuing media advisories until Tuesday. OSDH is expected to begin combining confirmed and presumable COVID-19 cases.

“This will advance OSHD’s mission to deliver public data that best represents the current, active presence of COVID-19 in Oklahoma,” read Friday’s announcement.

The state health department reported 52,740 people have recovered from COVID-19 since March. The number of people not recorded as deceased or recovered surged from 9,071 on Friday to near 9,600 Saturday. The number of presumably active cases has steadily risen each day since Aug. 27.

At least 518 Oklahomans were receiving hospital care for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Friday. The seven-day average of new daily hospitalizations on Saturday fell below 45, the lowest recorded since July 10.

Carter County has recorded 429 people with COVID-19, after 11 new cases were recorded between Friday and Saturday. After six confirmed cases were recorded as recovered Friday and Saturday, presumably active cases in Carter County rose slightly to 41. 

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Carter County not recorded as deceased or recovered rose to 41 on Saturday.

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.