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The number of deaths due to COVID-19 crested 300 Thursday, a dire marker for the state of Oklahoma.

With five more deaths from the disease being reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), the state’s official death toll rose to 304 as of 7:00 a.m. Thursday.

Significantly, all of the newest deaths are from other parts of the state than Texas County in the panhandle where a hotspot is causing concern there and among state officials.

The latest deaths that ticked the count upward were three in Oklahoma County, one in Tulsa County, and one in Washington County — all far from the panhandle.

We reached out to Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt after Thursday’s OSDH report was released.

“We send our deepest condolences to the families of those we have lost and we still encourage everyone to continue to take precautions,” said Holt. “Keep your distance, wash your hands, and wear a mask when in public situations where social distancing is difficult.”

Case count up

Reported cases continue to climb daily across the state.

Thursday’s case count by OSDH showed 148 new cases over Wednesday’s count, a concerning single-day spike mid-week. Apparent spikes on Mondays are sometimes due to a lag in reporting around the state over the weekends.

Since Monday there have been 282 new cases reported by OSDH.

Hospitalizations have been at or over 200 for the last two days, the number having floated around 160 to 200 for several weeks earlier.

Oklahoma County stable

Mayor Holt said that he and the leadership of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department are focused on “syndromic surveillance, cases, deaths and hospitalizations every day.”

“Every data point [in Oklahoma County] has either been flat or in decline for several weeks, which is the direction you want to go,” Holt added.

“Having said that, the data also confirms that people are still getting the virus and they are still dying. Not at the rate you’ve seen in other cities and not at the rates we had in March and April, so it’s a good direction, but the virus is certainly not gone.”

Holt told us that the doesn’t pay as much attention to cumulative numbers which he termed to be “fairly useless.” Instead, he said they are watching trends.

Earlier, Holt declared an emergency for Oklahoma City but has cautiously relaxed restrictions in recent days.

OKC metro chart as of 5-20-20 from the Oklahoma City-County Health Department provided by Mayor David Holt.

Last Updated May 21, 2020, 12:57 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor