Hospitalizations, deaths remain high after holiday virus surge

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

Even though a holiday spike in COVID-19 cases in the county is about two weeks in the past, Mercy Hospital Ardmore remains inundated as the daily average of pandemic-related deaths statewide continues to surge.

The seven-day average of newly reported deaths linked to COVID-19 has reached a new high every day for nearly a week.

Mercy Hospital Ardmore was caring for 47 COVID-19 patients on Monday morning, according to Mercy media relations Executive Director Nancy Corbett. Eight of those patients were receiving care in the hospital's intensive care unit.

While down significantly from a peak number of coronavirus patients earlier this month, hospital administration said that the facility continues to feel the enormous weight of the pandemic while caring for other patients.

"While there has been a decline in COVID-19 patients in the past week, our medical team is still working very hard due to the volume of patients we are currently caring for at this time," said hospital President Daryle Voss through a spokesperson.

"We ask our community to continue to take this very seriously — vaccinate as soon as possible, wear masks and social distance."

Oklahoma has recorded 374,853 total cases of COVID-19 after 4,704 new cases were recorded between Sunday and Monday, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The number of deaths swelled to 3,293 after 62 new deaths were reported statewide since Sunday, including one Carter County death reported Sunday.

The state health department has reported over 800 deaths from COVID-19 so far in January, surpassing every other month of the pademic.

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 reports of confirmed cases and deaths linked to COVID-19 are known to be delayed by days or even weeks. 

Carter County has recorded 4,773 cases of the disease after 101 new cases were recorded between Sunday and Monday. One death recorded on Sunday brings the total number of deaths linked to COVID-19 to 23, and at least 615 cases were considered active on Monday.

Trends in new daily cases and active cases in Carter County showed a massive spike in coronavirus infections in the days and weeks following the December holidays, according to OSDH data compiled by The Ardmoreite.

The seven-day average of new daily cases surged from 28.7 on Dec. 30 to 137.4 on Jan. 14 before falling to 42.7 on Monday. Similarly, the number of active cases in the county surged from 362 on Dec. 30 to 1,046 on Jan. 11 before falling to near 600 over the weekend.

Unlike data markers for new daily or active cases, the seven-day average for new deaths statewide continues to climb even after the holiday virus surge. Average daily deaths from COVID-19 in Oklahoma have nearly doubled since Dec. 31 and currently sit at a record high 42.7. Almost one in four COVID-19 deaths reported by OSDH have been reported this month.