OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma surpassed 3,000 deaths due to COVID-19 Tuesday as the national death toll topped 400,000, and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines continued at a steady pace.
The health department reported an increase of 43 deaths in the state to reach a total of 3,037 people who have died due to the illness caused by the virus. Oklahoma also reported 1,558 confirmed new cases, taking the state's total to 358,374.
Also Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council voted to extend to March 5 a mask mandate in the state’s most populous city. It has been set to expire Friday. The Tulsa City Council last week extended that city’s mask mandate until April 30.
Oklahoma has administered 243,807 vaccinations thus far, said deputy state health commissioner Keith Reed, including 31,087 who have received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
“For this week, we're in the process of receiving 81,125 doses of vaccine, next week we're expecting to receive 86,875 doses," Reed said. “This inventory includes vaccine for both first and second doses," with the second “booster” doses reserved for those who have already received the first shot.
Reed said he would like to see a total of about 3 million of Oklahoma's estimated nearly 4 million residents eventually vaccinated.
Reed said there have been no confirmed cases of any of the coronavirus variants in Oklahoma and health officials have said the vaccines appear to be effective against those variants, which appear more infectious, leading to a rapid rise in cases.
The seven-day rolling average of deaths in Oklahoma has increased during the past two weeks from 24.14 per day on Jan. 4 to 31.29, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The rolling average of new cases declined from 3,454.86 per day to 3,081.29 and the positivity rate fell from 23.29% to 17.59% during the same time period.
Oklahoma had the fourth highest number of new cases per capita in the nation with 1,269.19 per 100,000 residents during the past two weeks, according to the Johns Hopkins data.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe illness and be fatal.