In the span of one week the number of “red zone” zip codes in Tulsa county has nearly doubled. On November 13 there were 22; on Friday, November 20, the Tulsa Health Department reported that there are now 35. Sapulpa is included in this report.
According to the Tulsa Health Department, red indicates “severe and uncontrolled” spread of CPVID-19. This means that outbreaks are occurring and increasing, and that contact tracing capacity is at its limit or exceeded. Seven zip codes in the county are orange, which denotes a high risk with high levels of transmission.
At a news conference on Thursday November 19, THD Executive Director Bruce Dart encouraged people to “stay home” if they were in a red zip code.
“I actually saw a meme this week that showed the virus visibly circulating in the air and asked, ‘Would you go out if you could see this?’ The virus is circulating everywhere, and if you could see it, I think many people would understand that this is real and this is the enemy and this is what we’re fighting against,” said Dart.
The THD Director stated that Tulsa County now has more than 4 percent of its residents testing positive for COVID19. This represents 26,000 residents.
Dart said, “If this trend continues, we will surpass 5% of the population testing positive within 11 days.”
To put this into perspective, Tulsa County reached 1 percent on July 20, 2 percent on August 28, 3 percent on October 13, and 4 percent on November 12.
Dr. Dale Bratzler, the University of Oklahoma’s COVID chief, stated Friday that there were “very dramatic increases” in transmission of COVID-19 in rural populations with some areas seeing one-third of their cases since the start of the pandemic just in the last week.
Oklahoma’s seven-day rolling average of new daily cases set a record of 2,843 new cases on Friday, November 20, after reporting 2,921 cases on the same day.
The seven-day rolling average of new daily hospitalizations hit a new high of 130 patients Friday, November 20, with 184 reported on Friday. The single-day record of 206 was set Wednesday.
According to a report issued Friday, November 20, the state hit a record 1,505 COVID-19 hospitalizations, of which a record 450 were in ICU.
When referring to the hospitalization numbers, Bratzler said, “Many of my colleagues now feel that we’re almost inevitably going to overload the hospitals in Oklahoma in the relatively near future. Just consider the fact that we had 20,000 new cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma in the past seven days, and typically 10 to 12% of the people who test positive end up in the hospital.”
Bratzler added, “So we could see an additional 2,000 people in the hospital over the next week or so.”