Oklahoma reached a new high in its 7-day moving average after more than 680 confirmed coronavirus cases and five deaths were reported Saturday.
The 687 new, confirmed cases are the second-highest single-day total since 858 cases were reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Tuesday.
A total of 19,779 cases have been accumulated in the state since March. Since July 3, there have been 4,644 new COVID-19 cases, a 52.7% increase, according to the state health department’s weekly epidemiological data. The five new coronavirus-related deaths brings the state’s total to 421.
The state’s 7-day rolling average set a new high, of 575.
There are currently 499 people hospitalized with COVID-19 or who are suspected of having the disease as of Friday. The total includes 186 patients in intensive care units across the state.
The state’s overall positive rate has risen to 5.3%.
In Tulsa County, there were 177 new cases reported Saturday. The county’s 7-day rolling average reached 147.3, nearly reaching a plateau not seen since June.
Mayor G.T. Bynum announced Friday, in light of the trend and the recommendation of Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart, that he will introduce a face mask ordinance.
“This is necessary to slow the current rate of viral spread that will endanger our health care system’s ability to treat those in need if it is not addressed,” Bynum wrote on his personal social media account. “I have said if and when Dr. Dart recommends a mask requirement, based on trend data, I would proceed to put one in place.”
Bynum intends to have the ordinance ready for Wednesday’s city council meeting.
Gov. Kevin Stitt and OSDH Commissioner Lance Frye on Thursday reiterated the state’s core health policies: personal responsibility, preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and emphasizing protection of the most vulnerable populations.
“The way to reduce the risk of it is to take personal responsibility, not just for yourself, but the people you’re going to be around ... we have to think about our collective responsibility as well,” Frye said.
Vulnerable populations include older people, immunocompromised people and people with existing health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Governmental orders and mandates early in the pandemic were instituted to prevent hospitals and health-care providers from being overwhelmed, Stitt said.
Health and public officials have remarked that these health-care systems have since been buffed by mandatory reporting, new policies and protocols, stockpiles of critical resources and wider-spread testing. However, according to state testing site information, there are no OSDH testing sites in Roger Mills County,the last county to report a confirmed case. The nearest Oklahoma testing sites listed on the OSDH website are in Elk City and Clinton.
Health officials reported the far-western, rural county’s first confirmed case Friday, according to health department data.
COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, so public health officials encourage people to wear a mask or cloth face covering and to stay at least 6 feet from other people who don’t live with them.
Masks are vital when social distancing is difficult. A snug fit that covers the mouth and nose is the most effective, according to public health officials.
In addition, people should avoid being in group or mass gatherings.
Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water or use of hand sanitizer also can help prevent the spread of the disease, health experts say.
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.
Interactive graphic: See number of active COVID-19 cases by county
COVID-19 basics everyone needs to know as the pandemic continues