State virus hospitalizations up slightly, Carter County risk level lowest since October

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

With many pandemic markers in Oklahoma showing the virus slowing, new hospitalizations for the disease statewide are again climbing. New daily cases in Carter County have fallen to the lowest level since September as the county lowered it's COVID-19 risk level for the first time in 23 weeks.

The seven-day average of new hospitalization for COVID-19 started to climb this week in Oklahoma for the first time since a January surge.

Despite many drops, Oklahoma still ranked seventh in the nation for total cases for COVID-19 per 100,000 people for a fifth consecutive week, according to the weekly epidemiological report from the Oklahoma State Departmetnt of Health on Friday.

Oklahoma has recorded 431,991 cases of COVID-19 after 625 new cases were recorded on Saturday, according to the OSDH COVID-19 dashboard. 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 seven-day average of new daily cases statewide fell below 600 this week for the first time since July after it peaked over 4,255 on Jan. 13, according to OSDH data compiled by The Ardmoreite.  

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Carter County has fallen to the lowest levels since September, when just under six new cases of the disease were being reported on average each day.

While new daily cases have dropped dramatically since a January surge, new daily hospitalizations statewide have again climbed this week. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 hospitalizations climbed from almost 40 on March 5 to over 62 on March 12.

The average peaked at 200 in January when nearly 2,000 hospital beds statewide were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Mercy Hospital Ardmore was caring for only three COVID-19 patients on Wednesday and has been experiencing steadily declining numbers since January when over 60 patients were being treated for the disease, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Carter County accounted for abut 160 of the roughly 11,600 active cases of COVID-19 statewide on Friday. Because of the steady drop in new daily cases and hospitalizations, Carter County's risk level was lowered from "Orange" to "Yellow" for the first time since October.