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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – According to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, a rise in positive COVID-19 cases is due to outbreaks of the virus at three long-term care facilities.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced positive cases in the state rose to 4,732 with the death toll at 278.

Officials with OCCHD say the spike is “directly attributed to COVID-19 outbreaks at three long-term care facilities.”

The facilities were not named.

“We’ve expected outbreaks to occur in nursing facilities, and have been driving testing and staff resources to these facilities since mid-April as part of Governor Stitt’s initiative to test all long-term care residents and staff by the end of May,” said Executive Director of OCCHD, Dr. Patrick McGough. 

The OCCHD says positive case counts in the general population trend up and down dependent upon lab capacity, and the frequency of the lab reporting the results. On some days, hundreds of lab results will be reported in one day, which can drive positive rates up, and another day the labs may have very few results to report, driving case counts down. 

Oklahoma is one of the few states that includes long-term care COVID-19 test results in overall case statistics, which do not necessarily reflect the impact of COVID-19 in the general population, OCCHD says.

“As our long-term care testing grows, we expect to see increased positive case counts, which is not unique to Oklahoma County,” added Dr. McGough. “We are closely watching hospitalization rates as a key indicator of how the virus is spreading in the general population, and so far this month, hospitalization rates continue trending downward, which is a good sign.” 

OCCHD has a team of 24 individuals currently sampling residents and staff in facilities across Oklahoma County.