Oklahoma COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to climb

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of people hospitalized in Oklahoma due to the coronavirus jumped by nearly 50 on Wednesday to a one-day record high of 870, up from 821 a day earlier, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported.

State officials on Tuesday announced a plan to deal with a surge in the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus by transferring patients when certain regions become overwhelmed.

Oklahoma remains in the red zone for both confirmed cases and test positivity, and more than half of the state's 77 counties reporting high levels of community transmission, according to the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force Report released Wednesday.

“Mitigation efforts must be strengthened, especially in areas with increasing cases and test positivity and new admissions," the report states. “These should include mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private, and ensuring flu immunizations."

The health department reported another 19 people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,210 since the pandemic began in March. Health officials also reported another 1,307 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Oklahoma to 110,855.

The true number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.