New coronavirus cases plummet in Oklahoma

Mike Stucka
Brian Gill administers a coronavirus test Oct. 16, 2020, at the University of Texas at El Paso campus. With a spike in cases in El Paso, more people are flocking to testing centers.

Oklahoma reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Saturday, adding 7,077 new cases. That's down 23.2% from the previous week's toll of 9,217 new cases.

Oklahoma ranked No. 25 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 548,664 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 17% from the week before. Across the country, 41 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across Oklahoma, cases fell in 56 counties, with the best declines in Cleveland, Oklahoma and Okfuskee counties.

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The share of Oklahoma test results that came back positive was 8.4% in the latest week, compared with 9.3% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 84,685 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 98,674.Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.

The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive. Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.

Within Oklahoma, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Garvin, Grant and Coal counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Oklahoma County, with 1,322 cases; Tulsa County, with 1,122 cases; and Cleveland County, with 404. Weekly case counts rose in 17 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Garvin, Noble and Pushmataha counties.

In the state, 92 people died in the latest week. In the previous week, 83 people died.

A total of 122,762 people in Oklahoma have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 1,337 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 9,125,482 people have tested positive and 230,548 people have died.