Five more Sand Springs residents have died of COVID-19 in the past week, bringing the city’s virus-related death toll to 88.
For the seven-day period ending today — Sept. 8 — the city also reported 43 active cases, according to information from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The Tulsa metro area as a whole saw an increase of 45 deaths in the period, the data show.
Sand Springs has seen 20 residents die from COVID since the first of June, records show.
The city’s current infection rate — the percentage of residents who are currently infected with COVID-19 — is 1.3%, the data reflect. Just three months ago, for the reporting period that ended June 2, the rate was 0.3%
The total infection rate — the percentage of residents who have had COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in Oklahoma in March 2020 — is 22.91%, according to the Health Department.
That means nearly a quarter of all Sand Springs residents have or have had COVID-19.
In the metro area, only Collinsville, at 46%, and Skiatook, at 28.76%, have reported greater rates of total infection, the data show.
Sand Springs City Manager Mike Carter continues to urge residents to get vaccinated if they have not, to get booster shots if appropriate, and to wear masks indoors when they cannot socially distance from others.
“I have been asked if the city will force people to get the vaccine,” Carter said. “I do not think that is within the power of a city to do, but I will continue to use my voice to urge people to consider getting vaccinated.
“Eighty-eight people have lost their lives, which is way too many,” he added. “Information from medical professionals in our state and nationally have continued to echo the fact that it is the unvaccinated that are perishing.
“I beg people to reconsider” getting vaccinated if they have not done so.
Carter noted that communities with higher rates of vaccinations seem to have lower death rates.
“Another thing I find disheartening is that some people are losing their ability to empathize with those who are victims of this pandemic,” he said. “Regardless of a person’s action or inaction in regard to vaccination, we should always support our fellow citizens when they fall prey to this terrible virus.
“We need to pull together as we would with any other natural disaster,” he said. “Politics has its place in life, but not in this instance.”
Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Bruce Dart said that “the loss of any human life is a tragedy, and we offer condolences to the family and friends of those who have passed.”
“The Tulsa Health Department continues to encourage everyone to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Dart added, “including vaccination for those 12 years and older, masking indoors, avoiding crowds, washing hands, and seeking testing when symptomatic.”