More than 2,800 hundred new cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday in Oklahoma. The record numbers are impacting the state in a number of ways.
Schools and hospitals are doing everything they can in hopes of combatting the virus.
Within the past week, the Oklahoma State Department of Health recorded a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases. The spike has local health officials urging everyone to take extra precautions.
As cases continue to climb, some have already announced their plans to counter the virus. The Lynn Institute in Norman is one of the locations for the Pfizer vaccine trial.
The institute announced earlier this week their shots may be 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19. They believe this is a step in the right direction.
“Because to achieve 90 percent effectiveness with very few side effects, it's just unbelievable,” Lynn Institute CEO Carlos Blanco said.
Blanco said more testing is still necessary.
“The volunteers in our trial will continue on for another two years as we collect additional safety data,” Blanco said.
As researchers continue to work towards a vaccine, metro school districts continue to exercise safety protocols in light of the recent surge.
Oklahoma County currently has 67 positive cases per 100,000 people, placing it in the red level on the State Board of Education's alert map. Oklahoma City, Edmond, Putnam City, Stillwater, Yukon, and El Reno Public Schools are transitioning back to distance learning as a result.
“Stillwater's been very high. Payne County's had very high rates of transmission of the virus,” OU Chief COVID-19 Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said. “Oklahoma County still has the most new cases every day.”
New cases tend to mean more hospitalizations. Local hospitals are reporting surges with more than 1,200 hospitalizations recorded Friday.
“There's no question: The hospitals in our communities are strained,” said Dr. Cameron Mantor, Acting Chief Medical Officer for OU Hospitals. “Our ICU beds are filling up. Our med surge beds are filling up.”