OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As health officials across the state are preparing for a surge of COVID-19 cases, new data released from an international organization continues to suggest that social distancing practices are working.
On Tuesday, Gov. Kevin Stitt said that the number of hospitalizations in the state related to the novel coronavirus have dropped, which means the state may be benefiting from Oklahomans using social distancing practices.
“We are in good shape, but I want you to know we are still preparing for a surge,” Stitt said.
According to the IHME model on Tuesday, researchers predicted that Oklahoma would see around 1,300 hospitalizations at the surge, which is predicted to occur between April 22 and April 25.
In all, the model suggested that 813 Oklahomans could die from the virus by August 4.
On Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that 1,524 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 79 of those patients have died from the virus.
Although the number of cases and deaths rose in Oklahoma, new data from the IHME suggests that social distancing might be working to flatten the curve.
On Wednesday, the IHME readjusted its predictions.
At the peak, researchers say the state will need 1,115 ICU beds, which is a drop of nearly 200 from Tuesday’s numbers.
The agency also now believes that 697 Oklahomans could die from the virus by August 4.
While this is good news for Oklahomans, officials say it is more important now to continue practicing social distancing.
Stitt stresses that what the public does over the next three weeks will determine what the virus will do after April 30.
The public is encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and only go out into public for essential items or tasks.
“What’s really important is that people don’t turn these early signs of hope into releasing from the 30 days to stop the spread — it’s really critical,” Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, told TODAY. “If people start going out again and socially interacting, we could see a very acute second wave very early.”