Confirmed coronavirus cases continue to soar in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Confirmed coronavirus cases are continuing to soar in Oklahoma, with nearly 2,200 new cases and six additional deaths reported on Monday.
The 2,197 confirmed new cases reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health bring the total number of confirmed infections to 138,455 since the start of the pandemic. The state’s death toll now stands at 1,444, and the number of people hospitalized through Friday with COVID-19 was at 1,045.
Over the weekend, Oklahoma reported a new daily record high of 4,507 confirmed cases, a slight reduction from the more than 4,700 new cases initially reported Saturday, but that health officials said was slightly overinflated because of a backlog of cases and duplicate results.
Still, the daily number was more than double the previous one-day record and prompted Gov. Kevin Stitt to issue a statement strongly urging Oklahomans to wear masks, avoid large crowds and socially distance.
“Oklahomans pulled together back in April so we could safely reopen our economy, and I am asking for that same unified effort once again to slow the spread of this virus and keep Oklahomans safe,” Stitt said.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Oklahoma has risen over the past two weeks from 1,348.14 new cases per day on Oct. 25 to 1,735.29 new cases per day on Nov. 8, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Lance Frye, the Oklahoma health commissioner, said Monday he has discussed several mitigation options for Stitt to consider if the number of cases continue to climb. They include limiting capacity at restaurants and bars, closing bars, limiting large gatherings, and banning or limiting the number of spectators at indoor sporting events.
“It’s our job to present that information, and it’s his job to make the tough policy decisions,” Frye said.
Frye said that although he recommends all Oklahomans wear a mask in public, he doesn’t believe a statewide mandate would be effective or enforceable.
“Everyone should wear a mask. It’s a personal responsibility. It’s a social responsibility, and everyone needs to do it,” Frye said. “I don’t think a mandate is going to help that situation.”