Number of Oklahoma COVID-19 cases spikes; death toll hits 8

BY OKLAHOMA WATCH
03/27/2020 06:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Oklahoma data as of March 24 showed the state having 322 in-state positive cases and two out-of-state positive cases as well as 105 hospitalizations and eight deaths. COURTESY
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma continued to surge, reaching 322 across 38 counties – just under half the counties in the state – with total deaths increasing to eight, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health data released March 27.

Several patterns have emerged statewide, although with limited testing, no conclusions can be made about definitive trends.

Among the current tendencies:

• The median age of those testing positive is 58, with people aged 50 and over accounting for 61% of the cases. The largest age cohort is those who are 65 and over, with a total of 115. Global infections have shown that those over 65 are at higher risk for the virus.

• Slightly more men than women – 165 to 157 – have come down with the respiratory disease, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

• Larger metropolitan counties have seen the most cases. Oklahoma County has led the way with 94 positive tests, followed by Tulsa County with 49 cases and Cleveland County with 39. Three counties that stand out in relation to their population are Kay County with 17 cases, Pawnee County with 14 and Creek County with 14.

Nationally, Oklahoma’s 322 confirmed COVID-19 cases through March 27 was lower than numbers in most other states. It also reflects the fact that many interior states have had lower numbers than coastal and border states, according to tracking by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s likely too early to make comparisons among states relative to population, as states are testing and keeping data in different ways and availability of test kits has varied widely. Public health experts warn as more testing comes online, numbers will spike.

Officials at OU Medicine said recently that the state’s testing numbers were subject to a lag because it may take several days to present symptoms and get tested, during which time people were likely infectious.

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