OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While only 1,300 cases were reported on Wednesday, COVID-19 specialists are warning not to let our guards down too soon. We still haven’t seen numbers from this week’s holiday.
“What we’ve seen now is the 7-day rolling average seems to have come down some,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU’s Chief Covid Officer. “The numbers were down today, but I think we have to be cautious to make sure the low numbers that we’re seeing over the past few days don’t simply reflect decrease testing, limited testing, because of the weekend and holiday.”
Oklahoma County reporting the most cases in the last week with 3,300 positive tests; Tulsa and Cleveland County behind them.
You can see on a chart from OU Health, the 7-day rolling average looking down. Now at 2,532 cases on average daily.
“Some hopeful news that maybe the cases are starting to go down,” Bratzler said.
But inside hospital walls, doctors and nurses still feeling the effects of the latest surge with over 400 patients still in Oklahoma ICUs.
“Hospitalization rates obviously concern me a lot because we hit 1,600. We’re really stretched. Most of our hospitals here in the metro are still stretched. But if that number were to go up more then I think we’d have real challenges,” Bratzler said.
And in rural hospitals, Bratzler says staffing is a big problem. While a hospital may have 20 beds available, they can only open 8 or ten of them.
“Because they don’t have enough nursing staff to open them. So, they have limited capacity because of staffing limitations,” Bratzler said.
Bratzler says for now– keep an eye on the positive cases over the next week.
“There’s just lots of events. Travel. Football. Indoor events that have occurred. There have been concerts,” Bratzler said. “I think in a week, ten days, we’re gonna have a good idea. If we see the case counts continue to decline then I think we can feel comfortable then maybe we hit the peak of delta, and what I can expect would be a slow but steady decline in the number of cases.”
Bratzler also says flu was almost nonexistent in the U.S. last year due to COVID-19 mitigations– such as wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, other precautions.