Thursday, December 24th 2020, 11:08 am
Forty-five new virus-related deaths and 3,277 new coronavirus cases were reported in the state since Wednesday, according to daily numbers released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
A total of 272,553 Oklahomans have tested positive for COVID-19 and the total number of virus-related deaths increased to 2,328 the state health department said on Thursday. So far, 234,967 Oklahomans have recovered from the virus with 3,445 more cases considered recovered since Wednesday. Health officials said recovered means the patient is not hospitalized or deceased and it has been 14 days since the onset of symptoms or report.
OSDH said 35,258 cases are considered active in the state.
The first COVID-19 vaccines arrived on Dec. 14 in Oklahoma and were administered to frontline workers.
Ahead of the first round of vaccine distributions in December, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued new restrictions.
On Dec. 10, Stitt said he planned to issue an executive order to implement more state restrictions including limiting attendance of public gatherings, excluding churches, and limiting attendance of in-door youth sporting events to 50% capacity.
The governor also extended the restriction for bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. for another 30 days.
As cases and hospitalizations continued to spike upward in November, Stitt issued new actions to help combat the spread.
On Nov. 19, bars and restaurants will close at 11 p.m. for in-person service and tables will have to be spaced six feet apart or dividers will have to be used.
A mask mandate was issued for state employees and for people wishing to have access to state buildings.
The state health department corrected Nov. 7's daily total on Nov. 8, and opted to not release a new daily COVID-19 totals from Saturday to Sunday.
Health officials said it removed the duplicate cases from the total but it only dropped the total cases down from 4,741 to 4,507, a 234 drop.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye issued the following statement on Nov. 8:
"Today’s individual case number, 4,507, is a corrected version of yesterday’s number with all duplicate cases removed. Today we will not be releasing a new daily case number, allowing our data reporting system to catch up and ensure duplications are removed from the daily number prior to release moving forward. Starting tomorrow, the daily number released will not include any duplicates. We are committed to giving the public and media accurate and transparent data, and this will ensure the daily number reflects the actual case count. We will continue to point to the 7-day average, percent positivity and hospitalizations in addition to the daily number to give a more complete picture of trends. We have no reason to believe our revised number is an anomaly, but instead shows community spread is occurring. We continue to urge all Oklahomans to take this highly-contagious virus seriously and act immediately to avoid large gatherings, wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance to others. Together we can bring these numbers down and protect our friends, family and neighbors."
Stitt released a statement on Nov. 7 and asked Oklahomans "to do the right thing" and to follow CDC guidelines -- practice social distancing, wear a face mask and wash your hands regularly -- to help slow the spread.
On Sept. 8, the state health department said it has begun the transition to include antigen test results to the state's data collection and reporting system. A positive antigen test result is considered a "probable" case, while a positive molecular test result is consider a "confirmed" case.
Antigen testing is a rapid test that can be completed in less than an hour. Molecular tests usually take days before results are made available.
On July 15, Stitt said he had tested positive for COVID-19, making him the first governor in the country to test positive for the virus. He has since posted video updates of concerning his health and quarantine.
Oklahoma reported its first child death related to the virus on July 12. The child was a 13-year-old daughter of a soldier stationed at Fort Sill.
Shortly after the report of the girl's death, state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister recommended for all Oklahomans to wear face masks to allow the safely reopening of schools in the fall.
On June 30, Stitt wore a face mask and "strongly encouraged" Oklahomans to follow CDC guidelines pertaining to face masks.
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