COVID-19 hospitalizations reach record high in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have reached a new record high in Oklahoma.

On Monday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that 691 patients are hospitalized with a confirmed case of COVID-19. At the same time, 69 other patients are presumed to be positive for the virus.

“As you know, the hospitals are starting to fill up, particularly in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. There are still beds available but ICU beds have been at a premium recently and there has been some movement of patients around the city to find open ICU beds. As you mentioned, there were 266 confirmed cases in an ICU bed. Those are obviously very, very sick patients and require quite specialized care. Since the start of the pandemic, a lot of people don’t recognize it, but if you take the entire pandemic, the 31 weeks that we’re in the pandemic, we’ve seen more than 3,000 cases per week in Oklahoma and we’ve seen 35 deaths every single week since this pandemic started. It’s really become a crisis across the state at this point,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Medical Chief COVID officer.

Under the health department’s COVID-19 Alert System, officials say 70 of the state’s 77 counties are listed as a moderate risk for transmission of the virus.

“In fact, I think a lot more counties now are going to show up as red on the White House map because when you look at the population incidence, the number of new cases per population, in many places, it’s higher in some of the rural counties than it is in Oklahoma County, Tulsa County, Cleveland County where you have many more people. So we see more cases but the actual incidence is higher in many rural counties in Oklahoma now,” said Dr. Bratzler.

A recent prediction of how the pandemic will unfold in Oklahoma has painted a disturbing picture for the end of the year.

According to the IHME predictive model, it shows that Oklahoma could see nearly 3,000 deaths by the end of December.

In comparison, a prediction by Harvard suggests the state will see 1,740 deaths by the end of the year.

“Many of the predictive models have overestimated the number of deaths, and I think we’ve seen that fairly consistently. So I’m not going to predict that we’re going to see 2,000 deaths by Thanksgiving but we do know that we have a lot of people in the hospitals. So we’re seeing on average more than 1,000 new cases a day and if the hospitalization rate is 8 or 10%, that’s 80 to 100 more people that are hospitalized each day,” he said.

Right now, officials say 93% of the deaths are in patients who are 55-years-old or older. However, people who are under the age of 39-years-old tend to be the ones who are most likely to get infected by COVID-19.

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