Reported COVID deaths continue at deadly pace as active cases continue to fall

Robby Short
The Daily Ardmoreite
With 233 new reported deaths associated with COVID-19 over the last week, the state maintained the 200+ weekly deaths it had been averaging since the first week of January.

The daily situation update for the Oklahoma State Department of Health paints a grim albeit improving situation as the state prepeares to open vaccine eligibility to a wider section of the population.

With 233 new reported deaths associated with COVID-19 over the last week, the state maintained more than 200 average weekly deaths since the first week of January. 

February has already outpaced January for reported deaths by about 100 reported deaths, though delays in reporting means that a significant percentage of those deaths  likely occurred in previous weeks or months. 

Carter County saw its reported deaths total increase to 41 over the week. It is still unclear how many of the county’s 41 reported deaths were associated with the December outbreak at the Ardmore VA center.

Active cases throughout the state and county have fallen to months-long lows.

For Oklahoma, its 21,862 presumably active cases is the lowest reported amount for active cases since Nov. 11, 2020. The combined Christmas and New Year’s Eve surge saw active cases double to more than 40,000 active cases which peaked on Jan. 10. The state’s seven-day average for new cases has also declined to a low not seen since early November.  

On Saturday, the state’s seven-day average for new hospitalizations fell to 79, also the lowest total for the state since early November. 

Saturday’s reported 412 presumably active cases for Carter County marked the lowest total since Jan. 30. 

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

The most recent OSDH vaccine report showed 729,205 Oklahomans had registered through the portal to receive notifications on eligibility. Starting Feb. 22, Oklahoma will begin vaccinating the next high-risk priority groups outlined in Phase 2 of the state’s distribution plan. 

Oklahomans under 65 with comorbidities along with teachers and staff in Pre-K through 12 schools and educational settings fall under Phase 2 of the plan. OSDH estimates there are 89,000 Oklahomans who qualify as teachers and staff, and just over 1 million Oklahomans with comorbidities who will qualify during the next period.