Oklahoma COVID-19 numbers show steep increase


OU Health quality manager Dr. Dale Bratzler says early indications are that the omicron COVID-19 variant could be highly contagious like the delta variant, so it will likely spread to Oklahoma. (Screen capture by Kathryn McNutt)

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Oklahoma was down, but reversed sharply on Thursday.

“There has been a steady decline in the number of new cases per day in Oklahoma,” OU Health quality manager Dr. Dale Bratzler said Wednesday in an update on COVID-19.

The state’s seven-day moving average for new cases was 756 on Wednesday, up from 850 two weeks ago. “It’s good news that this number is trending down,” Bratzler said.

On Thursday, it jumped to 852 when the Oklahoma state health department reported 1,620 new cases, nearly three times the number the day before.

The latest OSDH weekly report showed 4 751 new cases November 21-27, a decrease of 17.8% compared to the previous week (14-20 November).

An increase in the number after Thanksgiving – if there is one – would occur over the weekend or the first few days of next week, Bratzler said.

News of the first reported case of the omicron variant in the United States broke during Bratzler’s update.

“No surprise here,” he said. “There was almost no way to keep him out of the United States. You just can’t contain a virus with borders for a respiratory virus that spreads easily. “

Bratzler said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tests 40,000 to 80,000 samples from people who test positive for COVID-19 each week to identify variants. The first case of omicron was identified in a specimen from California.

“Some of the mutations seen on the omicron variant are very similar to those seen on the delta variant, which makes the delta very contagious, so that’s one of the big concerns,” Bratzler said. “If it spreads, if it’s like the delta, we’ll see it in Oklahoma.”

It is too early to predict what will happen because not much is known about the new variant, including the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing serious infections or illnesses, he said.

“The antibodies produced by current vaccines might not be as effective against this variant with all of its mutations,” Bratzler said. “It highlighted the urgency of getting a booster dose. Immunity to the vaccine wanes over time.

More than 50 countries have a vaccination rate of less than 10%, so the virus will continue to spread and mutate into new variants, he said.

“I don’t think any of us think we’re going to eliminate the virus that causes COVID-19. We hope to get it down to the point and get enough people vaccinated so that it doesn’t spread easily, but we will see periodic epidemics develop, ”Bratzler said.

Oklahoma remains sixth in the country for the highest per capita death rate. As of Wednesday, 11,949 deaths from COVID-19 were reported.

Hospitalizations have increased in recent times. OSDH reported that 497 Oklahomans were in hospital with COVID-19 on Thursday. Throughout the pandemic, about a third of patients hospitalized with the virus have always been in intensive care units, Bratzler said.

“We will continue to see more deaths as long as we have so many people who are also sick with COVID-19,” he said.

The disease can have a huge financial impact on patients now that many insurance companies view COVID-19 as vaccine-preventable disease, Bratzler said. An average bill is $ 3,000 to $ 4,000 and a lot more if the patient is hospitalized, he said.


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