New COVID-19 cases plummet in Oklahoma

Mike Stucka
USA TODAY NETWORK

Oklahoma reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 5,812 new cases. That's down 39.4% from the previous week's toll of 9,588 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Oklahoma ranked 18th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 489,902 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of 23% from the week before. Across the country, six states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across Oklahoma, cases fell in 66 counties, with the best declines in Oklahoma, Cleveland and Tulsa counties.

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The share of Oklahoma test results that came back positive was 13.1% in the latest week, compared with 12.3% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 44,402 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 77,658. 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 Cimarron, Beaver and Comanche counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Tulsa County, with 1,374 cases; Oklahoma County, with 964 cases; and Cleveland County, with 414. Weekly case counts rose in 11 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Cimarron, Beaver and Garfield counties.

In Oklahoma, 157 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 211 people were reported dead.

A total of 419,354 people in Oklahoma have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 4,181 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 28,134,115 people have tested positive and 498,897 people have died.

The Rev. Daniel Belken sprinkles ashes on top of a parishioner's head during the Ash Wednesday Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. This year ashes were sprinkled on top of the head as a precaution against spreading COVID-19.