OSDH shifts reporting of COVID-19 cases

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
A masks-required sign in Shawnee reminds residents of the local COVID-19-related ordinance.

Reports on the state's COVID-19-related deaths have been stalled at the same number (4,534) for nearly a week — not because no deaths are occurring, but because the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has adjusted the way it's confirming results.

The state's active cases continue to decline regarding COVID-19, but now Oklahoma residents won't be able to see much of the information previously provided over the past year.

On Wednesday, March 3, OSDH altered how it reported its daily COVID-19 Situation Updates.

“Today we are changing the way we report COVID-19 deaths in an effort to show a more timely picture of the disease’s impact in Oklahoma,” the report reads. “Moving forward, we will include the Provisional Death Count provided by CDC/NCHS in the daily Situation Update reports.”

The Provisional Death Count is based on death certificates. As cases increased toward the end of 2020, OSDH investigating epidemiologists began encountering larger numbers of incomplete records requiring in-depth investigation. The process subsequently caused an increasing difference between the OSDH death count.

“Thorough investigations of each COVID-19 death will continue while also reporting the Provisional Death Count, and in the long run, our numbers will more closely align with the CDC’s,” the update states.

Monday's Provisional Death Count (CDC/NCHS) was 7,219.

On Tuesday, March 2 — the last time OSDH showed who, where and when deaths were recorded — the report indicated there were 56 additional deaths identified to report. In an added note, deaths occurred between Nov. 13 and Feb. 28. Two of the newly reported deaths occurred in February. There were 24 of the newly reported deaths that occurred in January.

A Shawnee woman was among the victims.

Deaths identified to report:

  • One in Adair County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Atoka County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Bryan County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Caddo County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Canadian County, one male in the 36-49 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Cherokee County, one female in the 50-64 age group.
  • One in Cleveland County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • Five in Comanche County, three females in the 65 or older age group, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Custer County, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Grady County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Haskell County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Jefferson County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Kay County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Love County, one female in the 36-49 age group.
  • One in Major County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in McClain County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in McIntosh County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Muskogee County, one female in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Five in Oklahoma County, two females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, two males in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Okmulgee County, one female in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 50-64 age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Two in Osage County, one female in the 50-64 age group, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Ottawa County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pawnee County, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • Three in Pittsburg County, two females in the 65 or older age group, one male in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Pottawatomie County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • One in Stephens County, one female in the 65 or older age group.
  • 13 in Tulsa County, one female in the 50-64 age group, three females in the 65 or older age group, nine males in the 65 or older age group.

Around the country

In the U.S., 28,999,273 cases have been recorded so far. There have been a reported 525,036 total deaths, compared to 463,445 a month ago. The state of Oklahoma Department of Health website no longer offers data determining how many in the U.S. have recovered and how many cases are still active.

In the state, OSDH reports 412,590 have recovered of the 429,162 total cases, and marks the active case count at 12,038.

In the county, of the 7,984 total cases documented, 7,701 have reportedly recovered. Active cases number 204.

In Shawnee, there were 4,906 total cases reported, according to Monday's data. Reportedly, 4,746 have recovered. The OSDH reports active cases are now at 102, a figure continuing to drop.

For more information, visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

Watch for updates.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.