The record number of COVID-19 infections across the state continued Sunday after the Oklahoma Department of Health reported 3,923 new cases and 12 more deaths.
The state’s death toll from COVID-19 rose to 1,528 with 27,807 active cases of the virus as of Sunday. State health officials reported that 154,128 cases have been confirmed since March.
The state’s seven-day rolling average is now just over 2,550 cases per day, a near-record high, according to OSDH data.
New York City, which has about 8.4 million people compared to the roughly 4 million in Oklahoma, reported about 1,800 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
The 3,923 new cases recorded in Oklahoma Sunday — the second-highest reported in a single day — included 616 in Tulsa County. OSDH did not report any new deaths in Tulsa County.
“This virus is spreading very rapidly and efficiently in our community, with no sign of slowing down,” Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, said in a statement Sunday to the Tulsa World.
“While many people experience only mild symptoms, or even no symptoms at all, some people become severely ill which can result in hospitalization or even death.
“Everyone can help slow the spread and protect our most vulnerable residents in our community. It is imperative to minimize your interactions with anyone who does not reside in your household.
“Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. This cannot be overstated.
“The Tulsa Health Department offers specimen collection for COVID-19 testing by appointment only. Anyone can schedule an appointment only at tulsa-health.org/COVID-19.”
Oklahoma and Tulsa counties have had the most cases in the state with 31,159 (260 deaths) and 27,046 (235 deaths), respectively. The number of cases considered “recovered” in those counties is 24,619 and 22,707, respectively.
Also, Tulsa County has moved to Tier 2 of the state’s hospital surge plan, according to OSDH. The designation means that 15%-19% of all hospitalizations in a particular region are COVID-19-related.
According to this week’s White House Coronavirus Task Force report, Oklahoma’s weekly new cases and test positivity rates both set highs, with 83% of the state’s counties in the red zone for high levels of community spread.
Over the last 14 days, cases have risen by 104% and hospitalizations spiked by 27%.
Gov. Kevin Stitt last week reaffirmed his position against a statewide mask mandate, but acknowledged in a statement last weekend that the virus “continues to spread through rural and urban communities” in Oklahoma and nationally.
He personally spoke in favor of masks at a press conference on Tuesday and promoted social distancing, but has typically framed the issue of wearing them as a matter of personal responsibility rather than a legal requirement.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Jenks Mayor Robert Lee, though, have publicly supported mask ordinances based on what they have said is advice from health professionals.
In a Jenks City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dart touted masks as a way for residents to retain the freedom to go to local businesses and support the economy while reducing the risk of virus transmission.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force report this week said the spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma is ‘unyielding,’ ‘unmitigated’ and requires ‘immediate action,’ including a formal statewide mask mandate.
COVID-19 by the numbers
The data below are current as of 6 p.m. Sunday.
Confirmed cases: 27,046 (+616)
Deaths: 235 (+0)
State of Oklahoma
Confirmed cases: 154,128 (+3,923)
Deaths: 1,528 (+12)
Confirmed cases: 11,296,615
Confirmed cases: 54,296,615
Sources: Oklahoma State Department of Health, Tulsa Health Department, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine