Task force: Oklahoma 3rd in U.S. in coronavirus positivity
September 25, 2020
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma ranks third in the U.S. in positive tests for the coronavirus and sixth in new coronavirus cases, according to the latest report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
The state had a 9.9% positivity rate last week, compared with a national average of 4.4%, and 175 new cases per 100,000 population, compared with a national average of 86 per 100,000, according to the report, dated Sept. 20 and released late Wednesday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
A week ago, the state's positivity rate was 10% and it had a reported 142 new virus cases per 100,000 population.
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt has questioned the task force's numbers and referred to a Johns Hopkins report that lists Oklahoma as 15th in the nation in positive virus cases, but fifth in the number of new cases, with 14,232 during the past 14 days.
Stitt also has resisted the task force's recommendations for a statewide mandate requiring masks be worn to slow the spread of the virus.
The Health Department on Thursday reported 1,083 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 11 additional deaths. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 81,244 and the total number of deaths to 981. The actual number of cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people haven't been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
The Johns Hopkins report also noted that Woodward County in western Oklahoma had the most new cases per capita in the nation during the past two weeks, and Craig County in northeastern Oklahoma is fifth in the number of new cases, per capita.
Both Stitt and Dr. Dale Bratzler of the University of Oklahoma Medical Center said this week that the increase in rural counties is due to a rise in cases at state prisons.
State prisons are in both Woodward and Craig counties.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections reported 1,357 active coronavirus cases and 3,262 total cases as of Thursday with two confirmed COVID-19-related deaths and seven other inmate deaths possibly due to the virus, pending autopsies by the state medical examiner.
The department also said the deaths of three staff members may be COVID-related, pending autopsy reports.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.