Holiday lag, gatherings cause spike in Oklahoma virus cases

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
01/14/2021 11:00 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A spike in Oklahoma COVID-19 cases on Sunday might have been partially caused by people attending holiday gatherings despite repeated warnings to limit their contact with others.

The state Health Department on Sunday reported 6,487 new coronavirus cases — more than 2,000 than were reported Saturday — and 23 more COVID-19 deaths. That pushed Oklahoma's totals to more than 331,000 confirmed cases and 2,761 virus deaths since the start of the pandemic.

State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said in a news release that part of the reason for the surge was a decrease in people getting tested and less consistent reporting of cases over the holidays, but gatherings likely also contributed.

“I want to encourage my fellow Oklahomans to continue doing everything they can to keep themselves and their loved ones safe as we continue distributing the vaccine,” Frye said.

Of the cases reported Sunday, 58% had a collection date on or after Jan. 1 and 80% had a collection day since Dec. 27, he said.

The rolling average number of daily new cases in Oklahoma has increased by about 1,169 cases over the past two weeks, which marked a nearly 40% increase over the prior two weeks, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

There were nearly 1,227 new cases per 100,000 people in Oklahoma over the past two weeks, which was the seventh-highest figure of any state, the statistics show. One in every 137 people in Oklahoma tested positive in the past week.

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