White House: Oklahoma is “in a dangerous place”
Mike Seals - December 3, 2020 10:33 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the number of new coronavirus cases continues to climb in Oklahoma, some local hospitals say they are close to reaching a breaking point.
On Wednesday, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 202,341 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.
That’s an increase of 2,859 cases, or a 1.4% increase.
According to the health department’s website, there were 54 additional deaths caused by the virus, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 1,812.
Officials say the deaths occurred between Oct. 24 and Nov. 30, but say 37 of those patients died since Nov. 26.
As of Wednesday, nearly 35 percent of Oklahoma City’s hospital capacity was spent on COVID-19 patients.
At the rate it’s going, it’s on track to reach 40 percent and Tier 4, the highest level of the state-designed hospital surge plan.
According to the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report, Oklahoma has one of the highest rates in the country for COVID-19 and test positivity rate.
Oklahoma is in the red zone for cases, ranking 19th for the highest rate in the country. The Sooner State is also in the red zone for test positivity, coming in with the fourth highest rate in the nation.
Officials say 99% of all counties in Oklahoma have moderate or high levels of community transmission, adding that 96% of counties have high levels of community transmission.
“The COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high. The national daily COVID incidence after Memorial Day, but before the summer surge, was fewer than 25,000 new cases/ day and is now more than 180,000 new cases/day; COVID inpatients then were fewer than 30,000 but are now more than 90,000; fatalities have more than doubled,” the report states. “We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID baseline and limited hospital capacity; a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall.”
The report states that if you are over 65 or have significant health conditions, you should not enter “any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked due to the immediate risk to your health.”
If you traveled for Thanksgiving and gathered with people outside your immediate household, “you need to assume you became infected,” the report claims.
The task force states that many European countries are seeing improvements after they implemented strong mitigation efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
“However, in many areas of the USA, state mitigation efforts remain inadequate, resulting in sustained transmission or a very prolonged time to peak- over 7 weeks. All states and all counties must flatten the curve now in order to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies,” the report states.
At this point, state leaders say they do not have any plans to implement a statewide mask mandate to slow the spread of the virus.
“The depth of viral spread across Oklahoma remains significant and without public health orders in place compelling Oklahomans to act differently, the spread will remain unyielding with significant impact on the healthcare system,” the report states.
The report goes on to say that effective practices to slow the spread of the virus include requiring masks, limiting restaurant indoor capacity to less than 25% and limiting bar hours.