Two more virus-related deaths and 450 new coronavirus cases have been reported in the state since Wednesday, according to daily numbers released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
A total of 9,354 Oklahomans have tested positive for COVID-19 and the total number of deaths went up to 366, the state health department said Thursday.
As of Thursday, 211 patients are currently hospitalized due to the virus, a spokesman told News 9.
So far, 7,071 Oklahomans have recovered from the virus with 173 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.
This is the largest one day jump since the health department started releasing daily numbers.
The state health department said the daily numbers were delayed due to technical difficulties. This is the second time in less than a month where daily coronavirus numbers were delayed by more than several hours.
During a visit to the White House in Washington D.C., Gov. Kevin Stitt said an increase in cases is expected because of the state reopening. He also said the amount of testing in Oklahoma also added to the number of positive cases.
“We’re testing so many more people than we were initially,” Stitt said at a roundtable with President Donald Trump. “We’ve seen a steady decline in hospitalizations.”
Data from OSDH shows, however, that hospitalizations have only trended upwards since June 1.
Dr. Bratzler, the chief COVID officer for the University of Oklahoma said the recent increase in cases can’t be attributed to testing. In recent weeks, the number of tests performed have slightly increased, but are still significantly larger than amounts from April.
“I don’t think it’s related to testing at all, I think we’re seeing more community spread of this virus,” Bratzler. “This is exponential growth now.”
On April 28, Gov. Kevin Stitt said anyone who wished to take a COVID-19 test could do so even if they are not presenting symptoms.
On April 22, Stitt introduced his multi-phase plan for reopening the state beginning with plans to reopen personal care businesses on Friday by appointment only.
Oklahoma health officials and Stitt said the coronavirus data was trending downward and was safe to proceed to phase 3 of the reopening plan on June 1.
The state health department advises anyone with COVID-19 symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever or coughing to stay home and limit person-to-person engagement.
The state coronavirus hotline is open 24 hours and the number is 877-215-8336 or 211. For a list of coronavirus (COVID-19) links and resources, click here.