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Ardmore hospital updates visitor guidelines, statewide pandemic data shows grim trends

Michael D. Smith

Multiple markers tracking COVID-19 in Oklahoma hit record highs again Wednesday when over 1,400 people were in the hospital with the disease and another 26 people were reported dead. As the pandemic continues to strain health care resources across the state, Ardmore’s largest hospital also updated new visitor restrictions.

The number of active COVID-19 cases and disease-related hospitalizations broke records again Wednesday, with nearly 30,000 active cases and over 1,400 Oklahomans receiving hospital care.

The state has recorded 161,425 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,570 deaths linked to the disease, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The 3,017 new cases reported Wednesday is among the highest number of new cases reported in a single day. 

The 26 new deaths recorded on Wednesday broke the one-day record for reported deaths set on Nov. 14. Over 25% of all deaths statewide have been recorded since Oct. 18 and November is on pace to record 389 Oklahoma deaths linked to COVID-19, according to OSDH data compiled by The Ardmoreite.

Oklahoma has recorded 1,570 deaths linked to COVID-19, including 233 since Nov. 1. Carter County has recorded 13 deaths, including three since Nov. 1.

Mercy Hospital Ardmore has imposed visitor restrictions as Carter County sees a COVID-19 surge continue. Those receiving inpatient care will be limited to a single visitor or representative, according to hospital guidelines updated on Wednesday. Clinic locations are also subject to similar restrictions for visitors, although guardians, interpreters and representatives are exemp.

Exceptions to the hospital’s one-visitor limit include patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or those receiving ICU care, who will not be allowed visitors. Minors can have up to two guardians at one time.

All visitors and employees must be screened before entering the hospital.

The seven-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma rose to 2,727.29 on Wednesday, its highest level during the pandemic, according to OSDH data compiled by The Ardmoreite. The number of patients in Oklahoma hospitals with confirmed or suspected cases rose to 1,434 on Wednesday, 53 more patients than Tuesday’s record-setting number.

The seven-day average of new hospitalizations climbed to 114.14 on Wednesday, which also broke a record set on Tuesday.

At least 29,823 confirmed cases in Oklahoma were not listed as deceased or recovered on Wednesday, marking the highest number of presumably active COVID-19 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.

The troubling trend statewide is mirrored locally, with a 2.7% increase in Carter County cases between Tuesday and Wednesday. Over 24% of the 1,295 total COVID-19 cases in the county have been recorded since Nov. 1, and over 56% have been recorded since Oct. 1.

The surge in active cases of COVID-19 in Carter County continued this week with 264 not recorded as deceased or recovered.

Carter County is on pace to record over 620 COVID-19 cases in November. For comparison, October accounted for 350 new cases of the disease in the county.

Mercy Hospital Ardmore was caring for 19 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Wednesday, down slightly from 24 patients on Monday, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Carter County remains near the record high, with 264 cases not recorded as deceased or recovered. At least 13 county deaths have been linked to the disease, including three this month.

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.