OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the spread of the novel coronavirus appears to be slowing across the country, health experts across the nation are trying to figure out if it is time to loosen some restrictions on the country.
Many leaders across the country have been paying close attention to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
For weeks, the IHME has predicted that Oklahoma would hit its peak for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations between April 21 and April 25.
According to earlier models, Oklahoma was expected to need anywhere from 880 to 1,115 hospital beds at the peak. Also, the predicted death toll ranged from 697 to 929 casualties by August 4.
State leaders have been warning Oklahomans to continue practicing social distancing measures in order to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.
“We are flattening the curve in Oklahoma,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said. “It is critical though that we don’t take our foot off the gas.”
Now, the IHME has updated its models and dramatically decreased the severity of the situation in the Sooner State.
The latest data suggests that researchers believe Oklahoma has already surpassed its peak for hospital resource use.
Also, the IHME predicted that Oklahoma would hit its peak for COVID-19 deaths on April 20. In all, the organization now expects 359 Oklahomans to die from the virus by August 4.
On Monday morning, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state currently has 2,680 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Officials announced three additional deaths from the virus, which is a stark contrast to the nine deaths predicted by the IHME.
So far, officials say 143 Oklahoma patients have died and 561 people have been hospitalized. Currently, 307 patients are hospitalized.
Oklahoma City Mayor Holt says that the state needs to increase testing, tracing, and quarantining in order to protect the public once the shelter-in-place orders are lifted.
Right now, state leaders are working on plans to determine when it would be safe to open up.