Payne County sees spike in COVID-19 cases, mostly among young people

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PAYNE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Payne County is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, and most of them are in young people.

Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle says it’s not just college students contributing to the spike, but people across the age range. Contact tracers are having a hard time tracking hotspots.

“They described those folks as being very social. There is no one spot that they can point to to say, this is where the spread is occurring,” McNickle said.

About 70 percent of the cases are with people ages 18-35. 

“I think people are just tired. They’re sick and tired of this whole thing. And perhaps they’re pushing the envelope a little bit in terms of social interaction,” McNickle said.

Stillwater Medical Center has many patients with non-COVID-related illnesses. With the recent rise in cases, McNickle says people should continue taking precautions so the hospital doesn’t get overwhelmed.

“They have a high census on other things so it would take very few cases for it to overwhelm their ICU, and certainly we’re concerned about that,” he said.

The hospital’s ICU and medical/surgery unit are at about half capacity, with one COVID-related case in each.

Staffing, patient conditions, and emergency department volume all play a role in availability.

Leaders hope COVID-19 numbers in the area don’t continue on the same trend.

“We certainly expected a spike. I don’t think we expected the kind of surge that we’re experiencing today, and hopefully we’re going to see that settle down in the next few days,” McNickle said.

There will be a free drive-thru testing clinic at the Payne County Expo Center on Tuesday, Sept. 1 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can book an appointment here.

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