Thursday, August 13th 2020, 4:48 pm
By: Hunter McKee
It’s been four weeks since the OKC City Council passed its mask mandate.
Since then, health officials said they’ve seen a downward trend in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
New numbers from the Oklahoma City-County Health Department show a downward trajectory in cases and hospitalizations moving into the month of August. These numbers are based on cases in Oklahoma, Cleveland, and Canadian counties.
“This is an alternative to closing down and sheltering in place,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said. “It works if everybody will do it.”
The health department said new COVID-19 cases have declined by a third from their peak in July. Officials said they’re optimistic the more masks being worn, the less positive cases the metro will see.
“People are really adhering to that,” said Lorri Essary, with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department. “They’re being more cautious and you see as I said it’s cautiously optimistic, that we are seeing that downward trend.”
Holt said hospitalizations had consistently been above 200 for three weeks, but have now dipped to as low as 142. He said while wearing your mask doesn’t solve every issue related to the virus, it does help slow the spread.
“We’re going to have cases every day for a long time, but we’ve got to keep it at a rate where our hospitals are not stressed, to where people’s lives can move forward,” Holt said.
Health officials said even though the downward trend in cases is a positive sign, we aren’t in the clear yet and people still need to wear their mask in public.
“That’s still incredibly important,” said Essary. “It takes a few weeks to see the results and I think we’re just now beginning to see it so we definitely need to be diligent and continue.”
The current mask mandate is set to end early next month. Holt said they’ll continue to look at data in the upcoming weeks to see if the mandate should be extended.