Coronavirus cases surge 12.3% in Oklahoma

Mike Stucka
A woman walks past an urgent-care clinic offering coronavirus tests in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Nov. 16, 2020.

New coronavirus cases leaped in Oklahoma in the week ending Saturday, rising 12.3% as 20,719 cases were reported. The previous week had 18,454 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Oklahoma ranked No. 19 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 1,184,520 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 16.5% from the week before. Across the country, 44 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Within Oklahoma, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Alfalfa, Woods and Okfuskee counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Oklahoma County, with 4,481 cases; Tulsa County, with 3,086 cases; and Cleveland County, with 1,127. Weekly case counts rose in 51 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rogers counties.

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The share of Oklahoma test results that came back positive was 13.2% in the latest week, compared with 18.3% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 156,765 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 100,732. 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.

Across Oklahoma, cases fell in 26 counties, with the best declines in Bryan, Cleveland and Pontotoc counties.

In the state, 108 people died in the latest week. In the previous week, 87 people died.

A total of 170,924 people in Oklahoma have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 1,624 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 12,088,410 people have tested positive and 255,861 people have died.