OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma rise to alarming numbers, a new projection shows the worst may still be ahead of us.

The projection from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows our state’s daily cases could peak Jan. 19 at 80,000 cases per day, including those who aren’t tested.

Right now, it’s likely you know at least one person with COVID-19 or someone who has been impacted.

“That’s kind of an unscientific way to say it’s really bad right now, when so many friends are telling you, ‘Hey, I’ve got COVID,'” said Dr. George Monks, with the Oklahoma State Medical Association.

“I think we’re in for a rough 2-3 weeks,” said OU’s Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler. 

Two of Oklahoma’s top doctors are following the science and the numbers, particularly a new projection from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

It show our state’s daily cases could peak Jan. 19 at 80,000 cases per day, both tested and untested, reported and not.

“We had 10,000 cases on Saturday and my bet is there were around 30,000 in the state that were probably positive at that time so the big numbers don’t surprise me too much,” Bratzler said.

Doctors are concerned because that likely means more Oklahomans will be hospitalized, possibly doubling our previous record of nearly 2,000, set around this time last year.

“These new projections show we’ll need 4,440 COVID beds and 1,332 of those would be ICU beds for COVID patients,” said Monks. “That is a tremendous strain on an already strained hospital system.”

“I think we will see more people in the hospital because even though this virus isn’t as virulent, it’s pretty bad in people who are unvaccinated,” Bratzler said. “So we will still see people coming in the hospital.”

While omicron is projected to drop quickly after the rapid spread, doctors say Oklahoma’s low vaccination rate could slow that decline.

“Time is running out,” said Monks. “But if you can at least get one dose or complete your booster dose, that can really help keep you out of the hospital and keep you and your family safe.”

Dr. Bratzler says he believes 3-4 out of every 100 people you encounter now are likely infected and urges everyone to avoid crowded indoor areas. Also, use a high quality mask when you have to get out.