White House report: Spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma is “exponential,” “unyielding”

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A report by the White House suggests that Oklahoma is not doing enough to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

On Wednesday, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 161,425 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March.

That’s an increase of 3,017 cases, or a 1.9% increase.

There were 26 additional deaths caused by the virus, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 1,570.

At the same time, health experts said there were 1,434 patients in Oklahoma hospitals with either a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

Now, a report from the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force states that Oklahoma is obviously headed in the wrong direction in the fight against the virus.

“There is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies,” the report states.

Right now, officials say Oklahoma is in the red zone for test positivity with the 9th highest rate in the country.

In all, 95% of Oklahoma counties are said to have moderate or high levels of community spread. In fact, the report states that 90% of Oklahoma counties have high levels of community spread.

“The spread in Oklahoma is exponential and unyielding, with hospitalizations increasing week over week and reported limited bed availability. Increases from the past two weeks correlate with Halloween and related activities. With Thanksgiving and upcoming holidays, Oklahomans must understand the COVID-19 situation statewide,” the report states.

The report also suggests limiting restaurant indoor capacity to less than 25% and limiting bar hours until cases and the test positivity rate drops.

On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a series of executive orders that he said would keep businesses open but still work to protect Oklahomans.

Beginning Thursday, restaurants must ensure that all tables are six feet apart.

“This will allow them to continue to operate safely while making sure everyone is socially distanced. If they can’t stay six feet apart, they can also install properly sanitized dividers between tables, booths, and bar areas. The goal is to keep groups separated so we can slow the spread of COVID,” he said.

Also, all bars and restaurants must close each night at 11 p.m. However, curbside and drive-thru areas may still remain open.

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