Two Tulsa County residents have died from COVID-19, and the confirmed case count in Oklahoma has exceeded 14,000.
State health officials reported the deaths, both Tulsa County residents, were older than 65 years old.
Oklahoma State Department of Health officials report publicly that a total of 389 Oklahomans have died from COVID-19 since late March. However, data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 401 Oklahomans have died from the disease.
“The CDC numbers include deaths of both confirmed and probable cases, whereas our reporting includes deaths of confirmed cases only,” an OSDH spokesman said in a prepared statement.
CDC reporting lags behind individual state’s reporting. Likewise, there is also a discrepancy in the total cases reported. State health officials reported Wednesday that there were 355 new confirmed cases, totaling 14,112 cases since early March. The CDC, as of Tuesday, reports fewer than 13,000 cases in Oklahoma.
The 7-day rolling averages for Tulsa County and the state are 115 and 372, respectively.
State officials and health experts have continually remarked that the younger age groups (18-35 and 36-49) have been the primary groups infected, particularly in recent upticks. Those two age groups, according to state data, account for about 57.4% of Oklahoma’s total infections.
As of Wednesday, 374 Oklahomans are currently hospitalized for coronavirus.
Health experts have said this is likely due to the mobility of those demographics. Last week, health officials said most new cases are coming from weddings, funerals, faith-based activities, bars, gyms, house gatherings and other small events — otherwise dubbed as the “serious seven.”
Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday remarked that, rather than large waves of infections, Oklahoma has experienced concentrated outbreaks around the state. Stitt was among several prominent politicians to join in the advocacy for mask wearing.
Since at least April, U.S. health experts have recommended wearing face masks or cloth face coverings prevent unknowingly transmitting the virus.
Recently a change has occurred among many elected officials as the deadly disease spreads throughout the American South and Midwest. Many elected officials, who had previously not been seen or not often been seen wearing a mask, donned face masks.
By contrast, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has consistently worn a face mask in public.
Stitt, during a Tuesday news conference, wore a face covering. It was the first time since the pandemic began that Stitt was seen publicly wearing a mask.
Interactive graphic: See number of active COVID-19 cases by county
“Research shows that wearing a mask when you can’t social distance significantly lowers the transmission rate of COVID-19,” Stitt said during a Capitol news conference. “It may take some getting used to, but it is a small price to pay to be able to keep our businesses open, our economy running and to be able to watch OU and OSU stick it to the shorthorns (University of Texas) on the football field in the fall.”
COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, so hospital officials encourage wearing a mask or cloth face covering. Masks are highly recommended for instances in public when social distancing is difficult. Health experts also encouraged people to maintain social distancing. Social distancing means avoiding group or congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water, or use of hand sanitizer, can help prevent the spread of the disease, according to the joint statement.
Those seeking to be tested for COVID-19 may find resources on the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website, where testing sites are listed by county.
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